The boxing world collectively shook its head when news that Anthony Joshua’s late replacement opponent Robert Helenius had failed a VADA test before their clash at the 02 Arena a couple of weeks ago.
The news almost felt like some sort of sick joke, given the entire reason Helenius had been drafted in was because original opponent Dillian Whyte had to withdraw from the contest for the exact same thing.
And Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has revealed how his charge reacted when he told him that ‘The Nordic Nightmare’ had also returned an adverse analytical finding.
Speaking to Matchroom’s YouTube channel, Hearn said:
“I messaged him [Joshua] and said, “Guess what? You’re not going to believe this.” And he just replied with the eyes emoji. And I said “Robert Helenius has tested positive.”
“I think his words were, “Wow, you’ve really got to be taking something to beat me.” He actually said in one of his messages, “Thank you for the extra attention you take in making sure all fighters who are doping are brought to light. Without Matchroom Sport these things are being overlooked.”
Whether Helenius was doping or not, it didn’t seem to do him much help against Joshua, who stopped him in the seventh round by way of a brutal highlight reel knockout.
The Finn maintains his innocence and has reportedly sent a personal message to ‘AJ’ to profess as such.
With undisputed super featherweight world champion Alycia Baumgardner also testing positive earlier this month, questions have emerged regarding how rampant doping truly is in the sport.