ENZO Maccarinelli admits he was ashamed to tell the children in his boxing gym about his drugs ban, but insists he made an honest mistake in taking an over the counter supplement.

The UK Anti Doping Agency yesterday announced that Maccarinelli has been given a six-month anti-doping suspension after testing positive for methylhexaneamine (MHA) on March 23 following a win over Shane McPhilbin.

Maccarinelli, a former WBO cruiserweight world champion, trains with Cwmbran coach Gary Lockett, who has vowed to “stand behind him 100%.”

The 31-year old will be unable to make a return to the ring until October 18.

Maccarinelli, talking exclusively to Argus sport, revealed that he took a fat burning supplement advertised in a fighting magazine, even checking the listed ingredients which did not include methylhexaneamine, though UK Anti-Doping explained that it’s a drug with several different names.

Maccarinelli claims he took the supplement for four days but stopped as he was feeling nauseous. He says he thought the supplement was safe as it was endorsed by MMA fighters but admits his error of judgement will have damaging repercussions for his reputation.

“First and foremost I want to apologise to my friends, family, everyone who knows me and all boxing fans because I’ve made a mistake, I took a supplement advertised in a magazine and obviously I should have been more careful,” he said.

“I had to stand up and tell the kids in my boxing gym and I felt ashamed and I know that my father (Mario, who died in January) would be spinning in his grave if he knew people were thinking I am a cheat.

“All I can do now is be honest and explain that this was a mistake, I don’t dispute that, but it was one I made honestly.

“I have taken 20 drug tests in my career and I haven’t ever had a single issue or anything to explain.

“I’ve co-operated fully with the Anti-Doping people and just want to get back in the ring as soon as I am legally able to do so.

“I can’t stress enough how badly I feel about this. I have made a mistake and it is my fault, but I am massively against doping in sport and there is no way I would intentionally do anything to hurt my reputation, or boxing’s reputation.”

UK Anti-Doping chief executive Andy Parkinson said: “This is a timely reminder that, no matter what your sport, under the principle of strict liability athletes must exercise extreme caution over what they put into their body.

“With this in mind, Olympic athletes should be aware that they are now in-competition from 16 July until 12 August and could be tested at anytime, anywhere. MHA is available in a range of supplement products, is banned in-competition, and can often be listed under a number of different names.

“UK Anti-Doping continues to work closely with the British Boxing Board of Control to maintain the integrity of the sport.’’ Maccarinelli’s trainer Lockett insists anyone who knows his fighter’s character will believe his account of things.

“Enzo has passed 20 drugs tests and if he was going to dope willingly, he’d have been doing so at his peak when he was competing for world titles,” he said.

“I am not disputing he made a mistake, but it was an honest one.

“I stand behind Enzo 100% and I’m looking forward to a long working relationship with him once his ban is over.”

Maccarinelli is the fifth British boxer this year to receive a doping ban. Heavyweight Larry Olubamiwo, cruiserweight Terry Dunstan, light-heavyweight Michael Banbula and former British super-middleweight champion Tony Dodson are the others.