After Dillian Whyte withdrew from Saturday’s all-British heavyweight match due to a failed voluntary drugs test, Anthony Joshua declared that doping drugs are “definitely an issue” in boxing.
Instead, Robert Helenius, 39, who accepted the fight with barely a week’s notice, will face off against Joshua, 33, at London’s O2 Arena.
When questioned about the doping situation in boxing by BBC Sport, Joshua responded, “I don’t know how they’re [the UK Boxing Federation] going to straighten it out or what their answer to this problem is. It poses a serious issue, though.”
For some years, AJ has paid for additional testing by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association to complement testing by the UK Anti-Doping Agency (Ukad).
Ukad’s most recent report details the results of 133 out-of-competition tests and 213 in-competition tests they conducted on athletes affiliated with the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC). Boxing’s virtue as a sport and its anti-doping policies are being seriously questioned for the third time in the past year.
An example is when Conor Benn’s match against Chris Eubank Jr. was cancelled during fight week in October of last year after it was discovered that Benn had failed two voluntary drug tests. Whyte, like Benn, has consistently claimed his innocence.
Following his match against Kell Brook in February 2022, an anti-doping test for the presence of a prohibited drug revealed a two-year suspension for Amir Khan.
It was announced on Tuesday that Joshua would face Finland’s Helenius instead. Joshua has had to change opponents from a fight twice so far because of anti-doping violations.