Anthony Joshua, the British heavyweight boxer, has raised a red flag about the prevalence of doping in the sport of boxing. This statement comes in the wake of Dillian Whyte’s failed voluntary drug test, which led to his removal from the all-British heavyweight match scheduled for Saturday.
Instead of facing Whyte, Joshua, 33 years old, will now compete against Robert Helenius, a 39-year-old Finn who stepped in on short notice to take the fight at London’s O2 Arena.
When asked by Sport News Center about the doping issue in boxing, Joshua commented, “I’m uncertain about how they intend to address this problem or what measures they will implement. But it’s evident that a problem does exist.”
This marks the third time in the past year that the credibility of boxing has come into question due to doping-related concerns and the effectiveness of anti-doping protocols. In a similar vein, in 2021, Conor Benn’s match against Chris Eubank Jr was canceled just before the fight when Benn failed two voluntary drug tests. Benn, like Whyte, has denied any intentional doping.
Amir Khan also faced a two-year ban after an anti-doping test revealed prohibited substances following his bout with Kell Brook in February 2022. However, the case wasn’t addressed by an independent tribunal until January 2023.
The recent turn of events confirmed that Joshua would now face Helenius. Interestingly, this is the second time Joshua’s opponent has been pulled out due to an anti-doping violation. In 2019, Andy Ruiz Jr replaced Jarrell Miller, who had tested positive for banned substances.
In an attempt to ensure a clean playing field, Joshua has taken the initiative to fund additional testing by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, in addition to the UK Anti-Doping Agency’s (UKAD) standard testing.
Despite UKAD’s efforts, there isn’t a globally standardized approach to anti-doping regulations in boxing. This discrepancy has prompted fighters like Joshua to advocate for more stringent testing measures. However, Joshua acknowledges that not every fighter possesses the resources for extensive testing, with his promoter Eddie Hearn suggesting that consistent testing should be extended to lower levels of boxing.
Prominent figures in the sport have faced suspension due to doping violations, including Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in 2018 and Tyson Fury in 2015, both attributing their failed tests to contaminated meat.
Joshua expressed his lack of surprise regarding doping scandals within boxing, remarking, “There’s always been speculation about the duration of this issue.” He also emphasized that beyond winning titles, fighters are striving to exit the sport with their health intact, highlighting the dangerous nature of boxing.
Hearn, the CEO of Matchroom, has advocated for the establishment of a global body that can harmonize testing standards and penalties across the sport. This would ensure consistent rules for all fighters and ultimately preserve the integrity of boxing. However, Hearn acknowledges the challenges in achieving such uniformity across various jurisdictions.
In summary, Anthony Joshua’s recent comments shed light on the doping concerns that continue to plague boxing. The sport faces the challenge of implementing effective anti-doping protocols and achieving a unified global approach to ensure fair competition and uphold its credibility.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about boxing’s doping problem
What is the main issue Anthony Joshua is addressing?
Anthony Joshua is addressing the prevalent problem of doping in the sport of boxing, particularly in light of Dillian Whyte’s failed voluntary drug test.
Who was Anthony Joshua initially supposed to fight?
Anthony Joshua was initially scheduled to fight Dillian Whyte in an all-British heavyweight contest.
Why was Dillian Whyte pulled out of the fight?
Dillian Whyte was pulled out of the fight due to his failed voluntary drug test, which raised concerns about his eligibility to compete.
Who is Anthony Joshua’s replacement opponent?
Anthony Joshua’s replacement opponent is Robert Helenius, a 39-year-old Finn who stepped in on short notice to take the fight.
How does Anthony Joshua feel about the doping issue in boxing?
Anthony Joshua expresses concern and acknowledges that boxing “clearly has a problem” with doping. He raises questions about how the issue will be resolved.
What are the past instances that have raised doubts about boxing’s credibility?
Conor Benn’s canceled bout with Chris Eubank Jr and Amir Khan’s suspension following a positive anti-doping test are among the instances that have raised concerns about the credibility of boxing.
What additional measures has Anthony Joshua taken to ensure fair competition?
Anthony Joshua has paid for extra testing by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) in addition to the UK Anti-Doping Agency’s (UKAD) testing.
What is Eddie Hearn’s stance on anti-doping measures?
Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, calls for the establishment of a global body to standardize testing and penalties, advocating for consistent rules throughout boxing.
What are the challenges in addressing doping in boxing?
The lack of globally standardized anti-doping rules and the discrepancies between various jurisdictional rules pose challenges in effectively addressing doping in boxing.
How does Anthony Joshua view the recurring doping scandals?
Anthony Joshua is not surprised by doping scandals in boxing, wondering how long such issues have been ongoing and emphasizing the dangers of the sport.
What is the overall impact of the doping issue in boxing?
The doping issue threatens the credibility and integrity of boxing as athletes, including high-profile ones, face suspensions and doubts about fair competition.
More about boxing’s doping problem
- Anthony Joshua: British heavyweight says ‘boxing clearly has a doping problem’ – BBC Sport
- Dillian Whyte: Failed drugs test leads to Anthony Joshua opponent change – BBC Sport
- Conor Benn’s fight off after ‘adverse finding’ in drug test – BBC Sport
- Amir Khan: Boxer banned for two years over anti-doping violation – BBC Sport
- Eddie Hearn calls for global anti-doping body – Sky Sports
- Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez banned for six months after failed drugs test – BBC Sport
- Tyson Fury: Former world champion given two-year ban for doping – BBC Sport