Dillian Whyte is facing a potential life ban from boxing following reports he tested positive for a banned substance before his fight with Oscar Rivas.
The British heavyweight is understood to have returned the positive test three days ahead of his bout against Rivas at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday night.
Whyte beat his Colombian rival by unanimous decision after surviving a knockdown in the ninth round, to become the mandatory challenger for Deontay Wilder’s WBC belt.
But, as first reported by Boxing Scene, it has emerged that Whyte was informed three days prior to the bout that he’d tested positive for a banned substance in a UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) test. The exact substance is currently unknown to media.
When told about the initial positive test, Whyte asked for his B sample to be tested, as is his right, which would not have been possible until this week.
This meant UKAD, the sport’s governing body the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) and the World Boxing Council’s chosen testing agency, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA), had little option but to allow him to fight.
His promoter Eddie Hearn issued the following response on Thursday morning, in which he did not deny his man had tested positive, but insisted he was cleared to fight on Saturday night: “Further to reports I can confirm that both Dillian Whyte and Oscar Rivas were subject to extensive VADA and UKAD testing for their bout. Both fighters were cleared to fight by both bodies and the BBBofC.”
UKAD has declined to comment on what happens next with Whyte but, as the B sample almost always confirms the A sample, it is highly likely this case will now be passed to the independent National Anti-Doping Panel.
The whole situation can take years to resolve – as was seen with Tyson Fury’s case.
Last year, UKAD gave Fury a backdated two-year ban following a disputed positive test in 2015. The agency could have pushed for a four-year ban but, having already spent nearly £600,000 in legal fees, it reached an agreement with the British heavyweight.
Whyte has been through this process before, having tested positive for a banned stimulant after his victory over Hungary’s Sandor Balogh in October 2012.
That was the ninth straight win of the former kickboxing champion’s boxing career but it was his last fight until November 2014, as he was given a two-year ban.
Whyte’s defence at the time was that he had made a silly mistake by taking a popular and readily available training supplement without checking its ingredients – an error made by many athletes over the years but not an excuse usually accepted by the anti-doping authorities and his appeal against the sanction was rejected.
Now, having already served one sanction, Whyte is facing the prospect of a lifetime ban for a second offence.
Since his comeback, he has fought 18 times, losing only once to British rival Anthony Joshua in 2016.