Once again, British heavyweight Dillian Whyte is in trouble for having been caught with a banned substance in a pre-fight drug test and his rematch next weekend with unified heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua is off.
Matchroom Boxing made the announcement in a statement on Saturday, a week prior to when Joshua and White were to have squared off in London’s O2 Arena.
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) August 5, 2023
“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 of a random anti-doping protocol,” the statement said.
“In light of this news, the fight will be cancelled and a full investigation will be conducted. Further information on the event will follow.”
Joshua and Whyte were to have battled in a high profile matchup next Saturday night, as Joshua awaits another possible title shot. The two fought in December 2015 prior to Joshua accumulating the WBA/IBF/WBO belts and “AJ” scored a seventh round TKO.
This is the third time Whyte has been caught with a positive drug test. The most recent was prior to his decision win over Oscar Rivas in July 2019. In that case, Whyte and promoter Eddie Hearn knew of his positive test, but kept it quiet due to Britain’s quirky appeal rules and never told Rivas and his camp prior to the bout not wanting to lose the date and the money, etc.
It was only revealed after the fight that Whyte had taken a banned substance, which infuriated the Colombian Rivas’ side. Whyte also failed a post-fight drug test after he defeated Sandor Balogh in 2012.
As for Joshua, 25-3, he has lost his titles and the rematch on two twelve round decisions to Ukranian Oleksandr Usyk in 2021 and 22. However there have also been discussions about him fighting WBC champ and fellow Englishman, Tyson Fury, but that never materialized in the first half of this year.
It’s also believed that Joshua might fight former WBC champ, American Deontay Wilder, late this year in Saudi Arabia in what would be an intriguing, lucrative showdown of ex-champs.
Matchroom has not made clear if the co-feature heavyweight bout between Croatian IBF top contender Filip Hrgovic and Demsey McKean might still happen next weekend. Another possibility is that Joshua could fight Hrgovic on short notice to save the premier name on the card and proceed. However, Hrgovic is a much younger, more dangerous fighter at this stage to meet on just a week’s notice.