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Anthony Joshua opponent Robert Helenius fails drug test taken before knockout defeat after returning 'adverse analytical finding' two weeks on from bout

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Anthony Joshua opponent Robert Helenius fails drug test taken before knockout defeat after returning ‘adverse analytical finding’ two weeks on from bout

  • Helenius was knocked out by Joshua after seven rounds in London on August 12
  • Two weeks on from the fight the 39-year-old has returned an adverse finding
  • DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news 

Robert Helenius failed a drug test taken on the eve of his knockout defeat against Anthony Joshua earlier this month, with the Finnish heavyweight returning an ‘adverse analytical finding’ two weeks on from the bout.

Joshua floored Helenius, who stepped in as a last-minute replacement for Dillian Whyte after the British fighter failed a drug test of his own on the week of his scheduled rematch with AJ, to the point of no return in the seventh round at London’s O2 Arena on August 12.

Yet after replacing Whyte to save the show, Matchroom has now announced that Helenius also returned an adverse finding the day before the fight. The promotion says it was only made aware of the result on Friday.

A Matchroom statement read: ‘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.

Robert Helenius failed a drug test taken on the eve of his defeat against Anthony Joshua

Robert Helenius failed a drug test taken on the eve of his defeat against Anthony Joshua

Helenius was knocked out in the seventh round by Joshua in London earlier this month

Helenius was knocked out in the seventh round by Joshua in London earlier this month

The Finnish heavyweight had stepped in as a last-minute replacement for Dillian Whyte (pictured), who was pulled from the show after failing a drug test of his own

The Finnish heavyweight had stepped in as a last-minute replacement for Dillian Whyte (pictured), who was pulled from the show after failing a drug test of his own

‘Matchroom defers to the relevant regulatory authorities on next steps. We vehemently continue to support voluntary anti-doping testing. We are committed to promoting a clean and fair sport for all athletes. 

‘We will not be making any further comment.’ 

Joshua was due to settle his long-time rivalry with Whyte before his arch-nemesis returned an adverse finding just days out from their rematch in London.

At the very last minute, Helenius stepped in to fill the void and ensure thousands of fans still got their money’s worth on the night.

The 39-year-old had an astonishing assessment on Whyte’s failed test after agreeing a deal to replace him, claiming he would be ‘lynched’ back home in Finland for a similar result.

‘Of course it’s a problem because I don’t think everybody is on the same level, some have privileges that others don’t have,’ Helenius said. ‘I think anti-doping should be the same in every country. For example, in your country when Dillian gets caught everybody just thinks “oh it’s boxing” and nobody cares.

‘In Finland, if I would be caught I would be lynched for my whole life. Two year minimum, nothing. I would never get a license again. 

‘I know [Alexander] Povetkin, [Tyson] Fury, Canelo [Alvarez]. If I would do that I would never be able to box in Finland anymore.’

Two weeks on from bout it has been revealed that Helenius also returned an adverse finding

Two weeks on from bout it has been revealed that Helenius also returned an adverse finding

Helenius caused Joshua slight difficulty before the two-time former heavyweight champion blasted him out with a chopping right hand in the seventh.

And prior to the fight, promoter Eddie Hearn heaped praise on the veteran fighter for accepting the challenge at short notice.

‘You go into the wild west of who wants it, who doesn’t,’ he said. 

‘We wanted someone credible, who would come to fight, who we could do a deal with at pace. He’s had big wins and got chinned by Wilder. He boxed on Saturday and got a knockout.’