Dillian Whyte fails drugs test meaning blockbuster Anthony Joshua clash is off

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Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte had been due to fight next weekend (Image: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing via Getty Images)
Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte had been due to fight next weekend (Image: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing via Getty Images)

Anthony Joshua's much-anticipated fight against Dillian Whyte has been cancelled after Whyte failed a drugs test.

The two British heavyweights had been due to reignite their long-standing feud on August 12 at the O2 Arena in London, but the bout has now been called off.

A statement from promoter Matchroom read: "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."

Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn shared the statement on social media and added: "BREAKING... more updates to follow shortly."

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Joshua had been hoping that Whyte would provide him with a stepping stone towards a $60million fight with American Deontay Wilder in Saudi Arabia in December.

“I’m definitely up for fighting. There are a lot of names in the division but look at what this fight does,” Joshua said in a press conference for the bout. “This fight does good business. Whyte is no longer a rival, I don’t see him that way. He’s just another body in the way.”

He added: “Forget Wilder and them lot. You have now seen the shenanigans that go on in the heavyweight division. I don’t look at him as a rival, I just think about myself.

Dillian Whyte fails drugs test meaning blockbuster Anthony Joshua clash is offDillian Whyte won't fight Anthony Joshua next weekend (Paul Harding/Getty Images)

"Staying in my lane and doing what I need to do. I am here now and I am ready to rock and roll. I don’t care what people think and say about me.”

Joshua and Whyte fought at the O2 eight years ago. Back in December 2015, Joshua stopped his opponent in the seventh round in a thriller for the British and Commonwealth titles.

Whyte, 35, lost to Tyson Fury for the WBC title in April 2022 at Wembley Stadium. He recovered by beating Jermaine Franklin in November, but the Joshua fight was a bout on a whole different level.

Joshua also picked up his first win in over two years by beating Franklin in April. The 33-year-old was extremely confident of his chances of repeating his victory over Whyte from 2015.

"One thing that he has got is the fight and in America they call it the dog. He’s got the dog in him," Joshua said. "He doesn’t lose what his foundation is. He’s one of those old school fighters. I just think that’s what he’ll always be. Do I think he’s improved? It depends who he’s fighting, styles make fights.

"When he’s fought a bigger guy he’s struggled a bit. When he’s fought short, quicker guys, he gave them problems. What Dillian lacks in certain areas, he makes up for in others. I don’t think he’s improved massively but he’s maintained his standard and it’s paid off. He’s done well with that, really well. It’s taken him a long way."

Felix Keith

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