Dillian Whyte is officially cleared to fight and free of any threat of suspension.
The top-rated heavyweight contender was granted a clean slate by United Kingdom Anti-Doping (UKAD) on Friday, following a months-long investigation surrounding a drug testing controversy following his previous fight.
“UK Anti-Doping and the professional boxer, Dillian Whyte, can today jointly confirm that Mr Whyte was charged with an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) earlier this year, but that this charge has now been withdrawn,” announced the UK-based testing agency in a statement through its press office.
England’s Whyte (26-1, 19KOs) landed in hot water when it was discovered that a random drug test conducted on June 20 showed adverse findings of a banned substance. The testing development was not discovered until July 17, three days before his July 20 clash with previously unbeaten Oscar Rivas in London, England. Whyte was required to appear before the National Anti-Doping Panel (NADP), whose organization heard his case and cleared him for combat the morning of the fight.
Neither Rivas nor his team were informed of the test result or the fight-day hearing, until stories began to circulate on the internet several days after their interim heavyweight title fight.
The matter then became the subject of a lengthy investigation, although Whyte was never suspended and technically free to fight at his leisure.
UKAD came to a final conclusion that Whyte's adverse test was due to contamination, which BoxingScene.com previously mentioned as a possibility due to the low trace levels of the two metabolites.
“The charge was brought after a sample provided by Mr Whyte on 20 June 2019 indicated the presence of two metabolites of a steroid,” explained UKAD in a statement. “UKAD initiated an investigation with which Mr. Whyte cooperated fully. UKAD has accepted the explanation provided by Mr Whyte and, in accordance with the UK Anti-Doping Rules, the charge against Mr. Whyte has been withdrawn.
“This would ordinarily mean that UKAD would not make any public statement, in accordance with the applicable confidentiality rules to which UKAD is subject. However, since certain confidential information relating to this matter (including the fact of the initial charge) has unfortunately made its way into the public domain, UKAD and Mr Whyte have agreed to take the unusual step of releasing the following limited information to put an end to speculation concerning Mr Whyte’s status.
The Case Details Provided By UKAD Were As Follows:
In respect of Mr Whyte's drug testing results, the following points are relevant:
There is nothing in Mr Whyte's longitudinal urinary profile to suggest that he has used steroids.
The levels of the metabolites found in Mr Whyte's 20 June 2019 sample were extremely low.
Mr Whyte had provided a urine sample to VADA on 17 June 2019, i.e. 3 days before his 20 June 2019 sample, which was tested by a WADA-accredited laboratory and which returned a negative result, including for the metabolites in question.
Mr Whyte provided several other doping control samples to UKAD and VADA between 20 June and 20 July 2019 (i.e. the date of his fight with Oscar Rivas) – all of which also tested negative.
In light of the above points, the trace amounts of metabolites found in the 20 June 2019 sample are consistent with an isolated contamination event, and they are not suggestive of doping.
Whyte's handlers professed his innocence, pointing to the fact that he had never tested positive prior to or after the June 20 test in question, neither through UKAD nor Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA), whose services Hearn regularly contracts for his major events.
“Having rigorously scrutinized and investigated the detailed factual and scientific evidence provided by Mr. Whyte, UKAD is satisfied that the presence of the very low amounts of metabolites in his 20 June 2019 sample was not caused by any fault, negligence or wrongdoing on Mr. Whyte’s part and, given the circumstances, could not have affected the fight between Mr .Whyte and Mr. Rivas on 20 July 2019,” UKAD explained in full detail.
“Indeed, prior to that fight, an independent tribunal considered a number of the above factors before deciding to permit Mr Whyte to participate. Following that preliminary ruling, UKAD continued its investigation and Mr Whyte provided further evidence in his defence, which has culminated in UKAD’s decision to withdraw the charge.
“Mr Whyte acknowledges that, based on the test results reported to UKAD relating to his 20 June 2019 sample, UKAD acted in accordance with the UK Anti-Doping Rules by issuing the initial charge and in the conduct of its investigation. Pursuant to the terms of the UK National Anti-Doping Policy, UKAD must always act in the interests of justice and not solely for the purpose of obtaining determinations adverse to athletes. In the present case, UKAD considers that means that the appropriate course of action is for the charge against Mr Whyte to be withdrawn and does so in accordance with the relevant anti-doping rules.”
UKAD continued: “The British Boxing Board of Control, having delegated responsibility for anti-doping matters to UKAD, has been informed of the resolution of these proceedings against Mr Whyte.”
The frustration of waiting out the lengthy process prompted his promoter, Eddie Hearn to place him on this Saturday’s heavyweight-themed show in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. Whyte’s scheduled 10-round bout versus Mariusz Wach was a late addition to a show topped by the heavyweight championship rematch between California’s Andy Ruiz (33-1, 22KOs) and England’s Anthony Joshua (22-1, 21KOs).
The timing of the investigation’s conclusion now makes Whyte’s placement on the card a moot point.
Whyte was the top-rated contender by both the World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Organization (WBO). The latter dropped the Brit from its rankings following his interim WBC title win over Rivas, and installed in his place undefeated former World cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk as its mandatory challenger.
Usyk was able to slide into the position thanks to his status as a WBO “Super” champion, with Whyte’s dilemma serving as a double-edged sword. The WBO noted his status as an interim titlist with the WBC, while also declaring that the ongoing investigation would have prevented him from fighting at the championship level.
The WBC had conducted its own internal investigation in accordance with UKAD. However, Mauricio Sulaiman, president of WBC confirmed to BoxingScene.com that the announcement of Whyte’s place on Saturday’s show during such investigation wouldn’t affect his standing with the sanctioning body.
That said, Whyte likely won’t see a title shot until February 2021, the time frame at which reigning titlist Deontay Wilder (42-0-1, 41KOs) will be mandated to fight him—providing he is still champion by then. The WBC ruling paved the way for Wilder to next face England’s Tyson Fury (29-0-1, 20KOs) in a rematch—targeted for next February—and leaving room open for the winner to face whomever prevails in this weekend’s rematch in Saudi Arabia, with the hopes of then creating an undisputed heavyweight champion.
Whyte—who has been the WBC number-one contender for two years and counting—will continue to fight that battle as he sees fit.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox