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Dillian Whyte out of Anthony Joshua fight after turning in positive drug test

Dillian Whyte. Photo credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Dillian Whyte 29-3 (19) has plead his innocence after it was revealed he tested positive to a banned substance one week out from his clash with former two-time WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua 25-3 (22) at the O2 Arena in London, England.

It’s not the first time the 35-year-old British heavyweight contender has run afoul of drug testing authorities. In 2012 he tested positive for the banned stimulant Methylhexaneamine following his victory over Sandor Balogh that saw him banned from boxing for two years. The dirty test was blamed on a now banned pre-workout supplement.

In 2019 a test returned traces of the banned anabolic steroid Dianabol in the lead up to his fight against Oscar Rivas. The bout was allowed to proceed and no penalty was ever handed down.

Promoter Matchroom Boxing is seeking a replacement opponent for Joshua who was hoping to have one more hit out under new trainer Derrick James ahead of a mooted clash against former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder 43-2-1 (42) in Saudi Arabia in December.

As we go to print, an opponent has not been named.

“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,” Matchroom Boxing said in a statement.

“In light of this news, the fight will be cancelled and a full investigation will be conducted. Further information on the event will follow.”

Whyte has vowed to fight the finding.

“I am shocked and devastated to learn of a report by VADA of adverse findings relating to me,” Whyte said. “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.

“I insisted on 24/7 VADA testing for this fight, as I have done voluntarily and at my own expense for all of my fights for many, many years.

“This is not the first time that I have been reported as having an adverse finding for a substance which I have not taken, and as I did last time I will again prove that I am completely innocent.

“In the meantime all I can do is express my extreme disappointment to boxing fans, who will miss out on what was sure to be a great event.”