The planned Aug. 12 rematch between Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte is off. Matchroom Boxing announced Saturday morning that Whyte had failed a drug test, forcing the fight to be scrapped.
“Today, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association 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,” a Matchroom statement said. “In light of this news, the fight will be canceled, and a full investigation will be conducted.”
Joshua (25-3, 22 KO) was looking for his second consecutive win after dropping the WBO, WBA and IBF heavyweight championships to Oleksandr Usyk and losing the rematch. He defeated Jermaine Franklin by decision in April to get back on the winning track.
Joshua and Whyte (29-3, 19 KO) previously fought in December 2015, with Joshua scoring a seventh-round stoppage to win the British heavyweight championship. One fight later, Joshua knocked out Charles Martin to win his first world championship.
Whyte has not fought since November 2022, also defeating Franklin, though only managing to win two of the three official scorecards for a majority decision. Prior to the win over Franklin, Whyte lost to a dominant Tyson Fury in Whyte’s long-awaited first shot at a world championship.
This is the third failed drug test of Whyte’s career, having failed tests in 2019 ahead of a fight with Oscar Rivas in which the Rivas camp was not informed of the failed test and the fight went ahead, as well as a failed post-fight drug test after his 2012 fight with Sandor Balogh.
It is unclear whether the event will move forward. There are heavyweights on the undercard, including in the co-feature between Filip Hrgovic and Demsey McKean. It’s possible Matchroom could attempt to use one of those fighters as a late-replacement to face Joshua.