In a recent development, heavyweight contender Robert Helenius has become the latest boxer to test positive for a banned substance. The test, conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA), revealed the presence of a prohibited substance in connection with Helenius' recent fight against former two-time world champion Anthony Joshua. The bout took place on August 12th at the O2 Arena in London.
Ironically, Helenius stepped in to replace Dillian Whyte on short notice for the fight. Whyte had been removed from a scheduled rematch with Joshua after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug during his VADA testing procedure.
While the test result will not impact the official outcome of the fight, as Helenius suffered a knockout defeat to Joshua in the seventh round, the revelation raises questions about fair competition and adherence to anti-doping regulations.
The questionable test was conducted the day before the fight, adding a layer of complexity to the situation. Promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing was informed of the positive result on Friday, prompting discussions within the boxing community about the implications of such findings.
Matchroom Boxing released a statement addressing the matter: “Today, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) has informed Matchroom and the British Boxing Board of Control that Robert Helenius has returned an adverse analytical finding as part of a random anti-doping protocol. Helenius was voluntarily tested on Friday, 11 August before the heavyweight fighter’s defeat by Anthony Joshua in London on Saturday, 12 August. The result was made known to Matchroom today."
As the sport of boxing continues to grapple with the issue of banned substances and fair competition, the incident serves as a reminder of the importance of rigorous testing and the consequences of violating anti-doping regulations.