Boxing: Joshua Calls For Boxing To Tackle The Doping Problem


Anthony Joshua has claimed doping in boxing is “rife” and says he feels sorry for up-and-coming fighters making their way in the sport. Joshua was due to fight Dillian Whyte for the second time at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday but that bout was scrapped after his British rival produced “adverse analytical findings”, according to a doping test conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA).

As a result, Joshua will now face Finland’s Robert Helenius this weekend after the 39-year-old was called up as a last-minute replacement. Whyte has denied taking the reported substance and vowed to prove that he was “completely innocent”.

Whyte’s case, however, is far from an isolated incident, with the British duo of Amir Khan and Conor Benn both failing drug tests in the last 18 months. Although Benn’s suspension has been lifted pending an appeal by UK Anti-Doping, he is now among a long list of boxers to have failed dope tests, including current WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.

“There is a doping problem in the sport, definitely,” Joshua said on Wednesday. The 33-year-old added: “Boxing is a great sport, it changes lives, it changed my life and put me on the right trajectory. It helped me cut out certain habits so it is a brilliant, brilliant sport for people who want to get fit and all these types of things. But in terms of the sport, I feel sorry for up and coming fighters, you don’t know what is going on or what type of person you are fighting.

“It is so tough anyway then you have people who might be cutting corners, who knows. It doesn’t fill me with anger, no, but it’s not good. I don’t think we just need longer bans; I think we need to look at it at the root. I don’t know the solution but I always mind my Ps and Qs because I don’t want my reputation damaged.”

Meanwhile Joshua said a sense of “responsibility” lay behind his decision to face Helenius, who fought in Finland last weekend. “I also looked at the undercard as well and I know how much it means for them to compete,” he said, adding: “I didn’t want to let anyone down, my coach, (broadcasters) DAZN, so it is kind of like a responsibility.”

Helenius, speaking alongside Joshua at a pre-fight press conference, insisted he had not simply turned up in London for the money, having been knocked out by Deontay Wilder inside three minutes last October.

“I am ready to fight,” said Helenius, a former sparring partner of Joshua. “That is why I am here. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here. “I respect him, he’s a good fighter. It is going to be glorious.”








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