Britain’s Dillian Whyte said he was devastated after an “adverse finding” from his random dope test led to the cancellation of next week’s heavyweight fight with former world champion Anthony Joshua.
The two had been due to meet at London’s O2 Arena on Aug. 12 in a rematch of their 2015 bout, won by Joshua, at the same venue.
Promoters Matchroom said in a statement on Saturday that the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) had informed them that Whyte “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.”
Whyte, who lost a title challenge to WBC world champion Tyson Fury in April 2022, reacted to the news on messaging platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
“I can confirm without a shadow of doubt that I have not taken the reported substance, in this camp or at any point in my life,” he said.
“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.”
Whyte served a two-year ban from 2012 to 2014 after testing positive for a banned stimulant contained in a nutritional supplement.
In 2019 he tested for traces of a banned steroid but was cleared of any wrongdoing by the UK Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD), which withdrew a charge of a doping violation.
Joshua lost his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO belts to Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk in September 2021.
The outcome of the Joshua v Whyte fight could have put either fighter in the frame for a lucrative clash with former WBC champion Deontay Wilder.
Matchroom were caught up in another anti-doping controversy recently involving British welterweight Conor Benn , who failed two voluntary drugs tests last year.
UKAD said in July that Benn, who had been due to fight Chris Eubank Jr in London last October, was no longer under suspension.