Dillian Whyte is once again prepared to go the distance to clear his name.

The veteran heavyweight contender has professed his innocence in the latest drug testing development surrounding his career. Matchroom Boxing announced early Saturday that Whyte was removed from his scheduled August 12 rematch versus Anthony Joshua after a random drug testing sample produced adverse findings of a banned substance.

Both the test result itself and news of his being pulled from the show caught the Brit off guard.

“I am shocked and devastated to learn of a report by VADA of adverse findings relating to me,” Whyte said in a statement released through his verified social media channels. “I only learned of it this morning and am still reacting to it. I have also just seen that the fight is being cancelled without having any chance to demonstrate my innocence before the decision was taken.

“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.”

Matchroom Boxing confirmed that efforts are in place to secure a new opponent for Joshua (25-3, 22KOs), while the rest of the event will move forward next Saturday on DAZN and its Pay-Per-View arm in select global markets from The O2 in London.

Joshua and Whyte were due to meet in a rematch to their December 2015 meeting, when both were unbeaten rising UK prospects. Watford’s Joshua won via seventh-round knockout in the final fight for the 2012 Olympic Gold medalist before he embarked on the first of his two heavyweight title reigns.

Brixton’s Whyte (29-3, 19KOs) has endured a far more difficult road to the title stage. He previously held the interim WBC heavyweight title, but failed to upgrade the belt when he was knocked out in the sixth round by lineal/WBC heavyweight king Tyson Fury (33-0-1, 24KOs) last April 23 in London.

Prior to that point, Whyte was limited to contender level bouts while sitting atop the WBC heavyweight rankings. He’d won eleven in a row following the loss to Joshua, including a July 2019 victory over Oscar Rivas to claim the interim title.

The win over Rivas, however, came with its own drug testing controversy.

It was learned after the fact that a pre-fight drug test produced adverse findings of the banned substance Dianabol. A months-long investigation ultimately cleared him, thus avoiding a second drug-testing related suspension. He served a two-year ban from a positive drug test surrounding his October 2012 win over Sandor Balogh. 

Whyte expects to once again disprove the drug test findings and proceed with his career.

“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,” noted Whyte, who is coming off a twelve-round win over Jermaine Franklin last November at OVO Arena Wembley. “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.

“In the meantime, all I can do is express my extreme disappointment to boxing fans, who will miss out on what was sure to be a great event.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox