Anthony Joshua fight off after Dillian Whyte drug test returns ‘adverse’ finding

Anthony Joshua, promoter Eddie Hearn and Dillian Whyte (left-right) during a press conference at the Hilton London Syon Park, London. Credit: PA

Anthony Joshua’s scheduled rematch against Dillian Whyte has been cancelled after the latter “returned adverse analytical findings” from a random anti-doping test.

The Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) said it had informed the Association of Boxing Commissions and the British Boxing Board of Control that a “random anti-doping protocol” undertaken by Whyte had returned the adverse findings, leading to the bout being called off and an investigation being launched.

In response, Whyte insisted he is "completely innocent" and that "without a shadow of doubt" he can say he has not taken the substance reported by VADA.

Whyte's fight against Joshua had been due to take place at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday, August 12.

Fight promoter Matchroom said in a statement: “Today, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) informed Matchroom, the Association of Boxing Commissions and the British Boxing Board of Control that Dillian Whyte had returned adverse analytical findings as part of a random anti-doping protocol. “In light of this news, the fight will be cancelled and a full investigation will be conducted.”

After Matchroom released its statement, Whyte said on Twitter: “I am shocked and devastated to learn of a report by VADA of adverse findings relating to me.

“I only learned of it this morning and am still reacting to it.

“I have also just seen that the fight is being cancelled without having any chance to demonstrate my innocence before the decision was taken.

“I can confirm without a shadow of doubt that I have not taken the reported substance, in this camp or at any point in my life.

“I am completely innocent and ask to be given the time to go through the process of proving this without anybody jumping to conclusions or a trial by media.”

Whyte added that he has produced false positive tests in the past and will fight the result of this one.

He lost his unbeaten 16-fight record when he was stopped by Joshua at London’s O2 Arena in December 2015 when contesting for the vacant British heavyweight title.

Dillian Whyte Credit: PA

A rematch was announced in early July after talks over Joshua taking on Tyson Fury broke down. Former world champion Joshua had also been linked with a fight against Deontay Wilder in Saudi Arabia. Joshua’s win over Whyte almost eight years ago avenged a defeat to his Jamaica-born rival when they had met as amateurs. Whyte recovered from his defeat to Joshua by winning his next 11 fights and after losing to Alexander Povetkin in 2020 he gained revenge by stopping the Russian in a rematch. Defeat to defending WBC champion Tyson Fury at Wembley in April 2022 was followed by a points win over American Jermaine Franklin the following November.

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