Dillian Whyte’s drugs test has thrown his own future into jeopardy and plunged the world heavyweight championship deeper into chaos, while casting a shadow over British boxing.
London’s self-styled Body Snatcher looks to have robbed himself of the world title shot he has craved for so long and risked a lifetime ban from the ring.
In so doing he has further confused the web of world titles which had become ever more tangled following Anthony Joshua’s shocking loss of his belts to Andy Ruiz Jr.
Dillian Whyte’s (left) drugs test has placed further scrutiny over boxing’s heavyweight division
It has been alleged that Whyte (R) tested positive in the build up to his bout with Oscar Rivas
Furthermore, Ruiz and WBC knock-out king Deontay Wilder are threatening never to fight in this country for fear of being ‘stitched up.’
That amounts to a triple whammy against the reputation of UK boxing. One for each of the three substances for which it is now alleged Whyte tested positive before his victory over Oscar Rivas at London’s O2 on Saturday night.
If Whyte’s B Sample confirms UKAD’s initial adverse finding he faces, at the very least, a lengthy suspension which, at 31, would take him close to retirement. As a second offender, it could be life. He will also have put his own promoter on the spot.
Whyte has already served a two-year ban handed down in 2012 for taking the multi-performance enhancing drug methylhexaneamine – and Eddie Hearn is on the record as saying that any fighter caught offending a second time ‘should be banned for life.’
That is a view held by many in boxing, Whyte’s Matchroom stable-mate Joshua included. By bitter irony Whyte recently cast aspersions of drug use against Joshua. As did Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller before his New York fight with AJ was called off following his drugs test failure, also on three counts.
Joshua has never failed a dope test. Meanwhile Hearn has confined himself to merely confirming that the fight was given the green light after drugs test.
Whyte’s promoter Eddie Hearn has been strong in the past about punishments for drug bans
The latest scandal will widen if, as being claimed in America, Saturday night’s fight was allowed to go ahead without either Rivas or the WBC, who sanctioned the bout for one of their minor belt, being advised of Whyte’s adverse finding.
Matchroom and the British Boxing Board of Control were informed three days before the fight. The Board, who devolve their entire drugs testing programme to UKAD, are thereby bound by that body’s protocols. Hence, in the absence of an immediate ban being placed on Whyte, they had no option but to let the show go on.
When I contacted Mauricio Sulaiman, the WBC’s anti-drugs campaigner president, late on Wednesday night it was the first he had heard of the problem. That body had chosen VADA as their tester of choice and there is no word on their findings.
UKAD do suspend athletes while their cases are under review but legal challenges have sometimes compelled them to defer any bans until after the B Sample has been tested and appeals procedures exhausted.
Perhaps lawyers, the like of which would be too expensive for the majority of athletes to hire individually, were at work to ensure that Whyte’s fight went ahead at the O2 and on Sky Sports Box Office.
It is highly unlikely this would have happened in the US. There has been criticism here of American boxing’s erratic approach to drugs abuse but while Miller’s six-month suspension was woefully short at least he was dealt with immediately, as are most cases there.
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman has told Sportsmail he has heard the same allegations
Colombia’s Rivas, who was adjudged the loser despite dropping Whyte in the ninth round and punching him to the brink of defeat in the 12th, is demanding that the result be annulled and his previously undefeated record reinstated.
If the A Sample test is upheld, the British Board are likely to declare the fight a No Contest.
Ruiz and Wilder have been far more scathing.
Whyte’s win established him as mandatory challenger to Wilder, an obligation the WBC champion would have had to fulfill following a rematch early next year of his epic draw with lineal title holder Tyson Fury. That, surely now, is opportunity lost.
Wilder is fuming: ‘I would have been pleased to knock Whyte out in one round but now it turns out he’s a cheat and donkey of the year.
‘This fighter has been caught using PEDs before. Now in his second attempt it is said he had more than one substance in his body.
‘This is the guy who was giving me and the WBC hell about getting a title shot. Now he wants to cheat because he couldn’t do it on his own. Not against me. Not even against Rivas.’
Oscar Rivas wants his defeat by Whyte to be erased from his previously unbeaten record
In a reference to the death on Tuesday morning of Russian heavyweight Maxim Dadashev from brain injuries sustained in the ring, Wilder added: ‘We just lost a fighter to too many blows to the head and now we have this idiot in a sport which is already deadly dangerous.’
Wilder is insisting that the Fury rematch takes place in America. Ruiz is refusing to travel to Cardiff for his return against Joshua, probably on December 14, tweeting in reaction to the Whyte furore: ‘I’m not going to UK for the rematch #issasetup’.
Then he added: ‘Rivas had no idea about it, which is scratchy. I will fight Joshua next – no ifs buts or maybes – but I want a fair playing ground.’ This also trades into a belief in the US that Joshua has been favoured by helpful refereeing in some of his biggest fights at home.
Unless Whyte is exonerated by his B Sample, he will rue not taking earlier final eliminators offered by the WBC against Luis Ortiz and Kubrat Pulev. Perhaps he will regret most of all declining millions for a title challenge to Joshua before Ruiz seized that chance.
For Hearn, it may have been prudent not to voice slights about drugs abuse by others, especially his recent unfounded insinuations regarding Manny Pacquiao’s ability to keep winning world titles at the age of 40. You never know what’s round the corner post.
Heavyweight rival Deontay Wilder branded the British fighter a cheat in a social media post