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Wednesday, 20 November, 2002, 21:35 GMT
Vargas fined and banned
Oscar de la Hoya (left) hits Fernando Vargas with a left hook
Vargas (right) lost a title fight to Oscar de la Hoya
Fernando Vargas has been suspended for nine months and fined $100,000 after testing positive for the banned steroid stanazol.

He failed a drugs test after losing a light middleweight title fight to bitter rival Oscar De La Hoya on 14 September.

The suspension begins from the date of the fight, meaning he cannot fight again until 15 June, 2003.


He's just naive, hopefully he'll grow from this
Mike Tyson
Vargas told the Nevada Athletic Commission that he took full responsibility for the positive test even though he had no idea he had ever used the steroid.

Commissioners seemed to agree Vargas did not knowingly take stanazol, the same drug that cost sprinter Ben Johnson his gold medal in the 100m at the 1988 Olympics.

But the Commission said they had to penalise him for the positive test and show other boxers that they will be dealt with harshly if they use steroids.

Vargas, who lost on an 11th-round knockout to De La Hoya, told the Commission that he would never knowingly use steroids.

"I don't place blame on anyone except myself," he said. "At the end of the day I'm the captain of my ship.

"I'm a man. I take full responsibility. The only thing is the layoff is definitely going to be hard.

"I want to serve as an example to all fighters. That is my message and will continue to be my message from this point on."

Mike Tyson sat in on the hearing to give moral support to Vargas. The two fighters share the same manager.

"It was an innocent mistake," said Tyson. "He's just naive, hopefully he'll grow from this."

BBC Sport Online has indepth coverage of the world light-middleweight title fight between Oscar de la Hoya and Fernando Vargas.

The fight

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See also:

28 Sep 02 | Boxing
27 Sep 02 | Boxing
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