For the second time in his career, former two-time heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua had to deal with a late replacement when his original opponent was pulled after testing positive for a banned substance.
Back in 2019, Joshua was scheduled to face Jarrell Miller at New York's Madison Square Garden. Miller was pulled from the fight after testing positive for several banned substances. He was replaced by Andy Ruiz, who pulled off a tremendous upset when he stopped Joshua in seven rounds.
Last night at the O2 Arena in London, Joshua found himself in a familiar position.
He was initially scheduled to face Dillian Whyte in a pay-per-view rematch.
But, on August 5th, Whyte was officially pulled from the fight after testing positive for a banned substance in his random drug testing protocol with VADA.
Whyte was quickly replaced by veteran Robert Helenius, with the event being downgraded from the pay-per-view platform.
While he admits that it's not ideal to face a late replacement on a week's notice, Joshua would rather go in that direction than go forward with the original opponent.
"Well, I'd rather deal with this than deal with a drug cheat in the ring. You know, so, we invest our own funds into testing and work with great people, and I'm glad that people get found out, because it's a tough game already. It would be a nightmare to fight someone on roids or whatever it is. I don't even know what they're taking but it would be a nightmare," Joshua told Boxing Social.
"Let's eradicate it [PEDs] out of boxing if we can, because there are a lot of up and coming fighters who are putting their life on the line and I would hate for one of them to have long-term life injuries. The anti-doping agencies, they do a great job. I've just been tested - urine, blood, etc.... clean sport man, clean living."