Hanna Gabriels has been ruled out of a second fight with Claressa Shields for the undisputed middleweight titles after testing positive for a banned substance earlier this month. But the 40-year-old’s promoter Lou DiBella claims his fighter failed the test after applying medication to her dog’s surgically repaired abdomen which contained clostebol, a steroid banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

DiBella told Boxing Scene: “The real victim in this situation is Hanna. She hasn’t had a payday in [25] months and now she’s out of a big fight. Her dog had major abdominal surgery.

“She applied the medication to her dog and that’s how it got in her bloodstream. As soon as she found out that she shouldn’t have touched the medication, she stopped doing it. If I’m wrong, analyze the amounts and show me the amounts in her system that prove she was cycling or micro-dosing or whatever.”

DiBella followed this up by uploading a picture of a stitched-up dog’s abdomen and three medications used to treat the wound. He captioned the post: “Hanna is out because she tested positive for a banned substance. That is how it should work. Period. It should always be strict liability (IT IS NOT). Below pictured is her dog’s site of incision and the veterinary meds she was given to apply to the area. One is a roid. Hence …”

Shields is instead set to defend her IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO 160-pound titles against Maricela Cornejo on June 3 at Little Ceasars Arena in Detroit. Cornejo is the number one contender for Shields’ IBF, WBC and WBO middleweight straps.

She has had three unsuccessful world title shots in the past, losing to Kali Reis via split decision for the WBC middleweight title in 2016 before a pair of points defeats to Franchon Crews-Dezurn at 168lb.

Speaking about her short-replacement opponent, Shields said: “I told my team to get me the best. Cornejo is a tall, tough Mexican full of pride who’s in great shape and wants to beat me. She’s ranked number one. That’s exactly what I want for my Detroit homecoming and for my fans around the world. I’m looking forward to a great performance on June 3.” 

In reference to Shields’ loss in PFL MMA to Mexican Abigail Montes, Cornejo added: “When Shields faced a Mexican in the cage, she lost. Now she will lose to a Mexican in the boxing ring. I just finished an amazing fight camp and am in the best, strongest physical and mental shape of my life. My team in Vegas has sharpened me like a knife for this moment. On June 3, I will become Undisputed Champion!”