Anthony Joshua says boxing “clearly has a problem” with doping after Dillian Whyte failed a voluntary drugs test and was pulled out of Saturday’s all-British heavyweight contest.
Joshua, 33, will instead fight Robert Helenius at London’s O2 Arena, with the 39-year-old Finn taking the fight at just a week’s notice.
Asked by BBC Sport if boxing has an issue with doping, Joshua said: “I don’t know how they’re going to sort it out or what their solution is to this problem. But it clearly has a problem.”
For the third time in 12 months, boxing is facing serious questions about the sport’s credibility and its anti-doping protocols.
In October last year Conor Benn’s bout with Chris Eubank Jr was cancelled in fight week after it emerged Benn had failed two voluntary drug tests. Benn has always protested his innocence, as does Whyte.
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Amir Khan was banned for two years after an anti-doping test revealed the presence of a banned substance following his fight against Kell Brook in February 2022.
The case was not heard by an independent tribunal until January 2023.
On Tuesday it was confirmed Joshua would instead fight Helenius. It is the second time Joshua has had to pull an opponent from a fight due to an anti-doping violation.
In 2019 Andy Ruiz Jr stepped in on a month’s notice when American Jarrell Miller tested positive for several banned substances.
Joshua has paid for extra testing by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association for several years to go hand-in-hand with UK Anti-Doping Agency’s (Ukad) testing.
In their latest report, Ukad carried out 213 in-competition tests and 133 out-of-competition tests on fighters connected to the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC).
Written by: Debby Eselebor