Dillian Whyte has insisted he is “completely innocent” after his rematch with Anthony Joshua was cancelled after the Brixton-raised fighter returned “adverse analytical findings” from a VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Association) drugs test.
The fight, which was scheduled to take place at Greenwich’s O2 Arena tomorrow, was called off last Saturday.
The duo were due to fight for the first time since 2015 when Joshua knocked out Whyte in the seventh round of their heated British title fight.
A statement from promoter Matchroom on Saturday afternoon said: “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. Further information on the event will follow.”
Taking to social media with a statement addressing the test, the 35-year-old Whyte said: “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 a 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.”
The substance Whyte tested positive for has not yet been released.
Whyte – nicknamed the Body Snatcher – tested positive in 2012 for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine in a UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) test and was handed a two-year ban from the sport.
And after he beat Colombian fighter Oscar Rivas in July 2019, Whyte tested positive for “trace amounts” of the steroid metabolites. However, the UK Anti-Doping Agency dropped its charge against Whyte five months later.
Joshua is set to fight American Deontay Wilder in Saudi Arabia in December.
Speaking to Seconds Out on YouTube, former heavyweight David Haye said: “Innocent until proven guilty.
“We have seen it in recent days where Conor Benn had been dragged through the mud about his failed drugs test, but it’s not failed until it’s ruled that you have cheated in some way, shape or form.
“Let’s not jump on Dillian just yet until all the evidence is in. Look what happened when he fought Rivas. The same thing happened before the fight, it was an adverse finding and it transpired that it was nothing to worry about.
“But this time, because of the heat surrounding drug testing, promotors don’t want any part of it.
“They don’t want a fighter getting in the ring with an unfair advantage.
“Everyone is being super careful.”
Former super middleweight Carl Froch added: “I’m devastated.
“The fans are losing out. Finding out seven days before that the fight has been cancelled is annoying.
“I don’t know what now for Dillian Whyte. He’s in a position now where he is 35 years old and he has failed a drugs test – this is going to look terrible for him.
“He is going to have to try and clear his name. That could take six months.
“This was a great fight for Anthony Joshua, but it’s now cancelled. Whyte will be devastated, but if he has been cheating, then I’m glad he’s been found out – he should be banned, punished, and it should be the end of his career.
“Let’s wait and see. We can’t point the finger. Joshua must be gutted. He took this fight and wanted to get on with his career.
“He knew it was going to be a tough fight and Whyte was going to try and win – it was a massive opportunity.
“It’s all up in the air. It’s bad for the sport. Whyte is going to be stuck in turmoil, waiting to see what has been found in this drug test.”
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