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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
George Sessions

Anthony Joshua could still fight this weekend as former foe puts his hat in ring

PA Wire

Matchroom is still working on finding an opponent to fight Anthony Joshua at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday.

Joshua (25-3, 22KOs) was set for an eagerly-anticipated rematch with Dillian Whyte, but the bout was cancelled after “adverse analytical findings” were detected in Whyte’s doping test.

It forced Matchroom to call off the fight on Saturday morning after the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association informed the promoters and boxing authorities of the test result.

However, there is a hope former two-time world heavyweight champion Joshua could still step into the ring this weekend with a raft of alternative opponents being lined up by Matchroom, the PA news agency understands.

British veteran Derek Chisora was set to fight American Gerald Washington and Croatia’s Filip Hrgovic was scheduled to do battle with Demsey McKean on the undercard in London on Saturday.

One of those four could now get the opportunity to fight Joshua, while an old rival has thrown his hat in the ring.

Andy Ruiz Jr, who stunned Joshua at Madison Square Gardens in 2019, has sent a number of social-media posts urging Matchroom promotor Eddie Hearn to pick up the phone and arrange a third fight between the duo.

Whyte, meanwhile, has vowed to clear his name again like he did in 2019 when he was cleared of a doping violation after UK Anti-Doping concluded the levels in his sample were “very low” and he was ultimately not to blame.

“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,” Whyte said on Saturday.

“I am completely innocent and ask to be given the time to go through the process of proving this without anybody jumping to conclusions or a trial by media.

“I insisted on 24/7 VADA testing for this fight, as I have done voluntarily and at my own expense for all of my fights for many, many years.

“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.”

While Matchroom has cancelled Monday’s launch party by London’s West End, the promotion company will hope the other fight week activities can take place if an alternative opponent can be finalised for Joshua.

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