ANTHONY JOSHUA is in limbo after today’s events.
The former world heavyweight champion was just seven days away from getting his hands on long-time rival Dillian Whyte once again. Those plans went up in smoke at lunchtime when his promoter Eddie Hearn revealed on Twitter the shock news that “Whyte had returned adverse analytical findings as part of a random anti-doping protocol”.
VADA informed Matchroom, the Association of Boxing Commissions and the British Boxing Board of Control about their discovery.
In response to the earlier news Whyte published a statement on his social media accounts a few hours later saying “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. 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.”
Hearn and his team are now looking to find a suitable replacement for Joshua. With only one week to go there is still every chance someone can be brought in but who could it be?
Boxing News offers three realistic and worthwhile options that could save the day.
- Otto Wallin
The Swedish heavyweight put his name into the hat today when BN asked him if he would answer the call to take the fight. “I think I would, but they would have to pay me. I’m in good shape. I’m in training. I think it would be good. I’d be ready for it.” Wallin’s career has stalled massively since his respectable losing effort against Tyson Fury four years ago. The 32-year-old is in need of a big fight and is good enough to be in the ring with Joshua.
- Filip Hrgovic
The Croat was already slated to face Demsey McKean on the Joshua-Whyte show so should be in prime condition. Unbeaten in 15 fights ‘El Animal’ squeaked past Zhilei Zhang one year ago and has not fought since. Hrgovic however, is a step up from Whyte and a dangerous opponent for Joshua if he were to take the fight. It would be a brilliant replacement with a week to go and one many would love to see. Hrgovic is currently the IBF mandatory challenger for Oleksandr Usyk. Would he risk that for a shot at Joshua?
- Martin Bakole
The Scottish-based Congolese heavyweight has a trainer in Billy Nelson who has banged the Bakole drum for some time. Bakole has spared Joshua in the past and would love nothing more than an opportunity of this size and is a bit of a dark horse in the division. Nelson made his intentions clear on Twitter this afternoon by saying, “Has Eddie Hearn got the balls he was born with to put Martin Bakole in with AJ. We all know the answer don’t we.”