Anthony Joshua reacts to Robert Helenius' failed drug test

Anthony Joshua paid tribute to Matchroom’s drug testing protocols following Robert Helenius’s positive drug test.

The two-time heavyweight champion was scheduled to fight Dillian Whyte on 12 August only for the Brixton heavyweight to returned ‘adverse analytical findings’ in a random anti-doping test, resulting in the fight being called off.

Helenius was drafted in as a late replacement with Joshua securing an emphatic seventh round knockout win at the O2 Arena.

The following week, it was revealed the Finnish fighter has also failed a voluntary drug test on the eve of the fight.

Asked what Joshua’s reaction was to another failed test for one of his opponents, Hearn said: ‘I messaged him and said, “guess what you won’t believe this.” He came back with the eyes emoji.

‘It was like, wow you have really got to be taking something to beat me, that’s what his words were. he said in one of his messages.’

Pulling up another message from Joshua, Hearn relayed a brief statement from his fighter which read: ‘Thank you for the extra attention you take making sure all fighters are brought to the light [who are doping].

‘Without Matchroom Sport these things are being overlooked.’

Hearn added: ‘We are working on a lot of things at the moment, they won’t necessarily benefit our business in the short-term but I believe it will benefit the sport and change the face of the sport and make it safer.’

Helenius, a veteran of 37 professional fights, has strongly denied knowingly taking any performance-enhancing drug.

‘I want to say something very clear in my own words right now with absolutely no exception. I did not use any performance enhancement now or ever. I have been tested my entire career,’ he said.

‘I was just told that I tested positive for the presence of a non-steroid substance in my system and I wanted to send an immediate direct message to Anthony Joshua and boxing fans that I didn’t cheat and never would.

‘I volunteer to work with VADA and the BBBofC (British Boxing Board of Control) to do whatever it takes to clear my name.’

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