Anthony Joshua’s new opponent will be decided TODAY after his fight with Dillian Whyte was cancelled… with Gerald Washington, Derek Chisora and Demsey McKean all in the running
- Anthony Joshua’s fight with Dillian Whyte this weekend at the 02 was cancelled
- Whyte returned ‘adverse analytical findings’ in a pre-fight drugs test by VADA
- Three contenders are in the running to take on Joshua instead this Saturday
Three contenders are reportedly in the running to take on Anthony Joshua this Saturday after his fight with Dillian Whyte was cancelled.
Whyte returned ‘adverse analytical findings’ in a pre-fight drugs test carried out by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA), meaning the bout – which was supposed to be a rematch of their 2015 British title fight – was canned.
It is unclear what Whyte tested positive for, but according to The Telegraph, Joshua still plans to fight at the O2 Arena on Saturday, although a decision on his opponent must be made by Monday.
The report states Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has returned from his holiday in the Caribbean to find a solution, working in conjunction with the boxer’s management team.
Gerald Washington is the favourite to replace Whyte with the 41-year-old American put forward as a candidate by his trainer Malik Scott.
Three contenders are reportedly in the running to take on Anthony Joshua this Saturday
Joshua, 33, is looking for a new opponent after his rematch with Dillian Whyte was cancelled
Scott also trains Deontay Wilder who is expected to take on Joshua in his next fight in Saudi Arabia in a clash that is reported to be worth £47million.
However, with just days to go until a proposed bout, Joshua would be taking a major risk by fighting an unfamiliar opponent as he would have to adapt his training and tactics at short notice.
Derek Chisora – who was supposed to face Washington on the undercard of Joshua-Whyte – is another contender, as is Australian boxer Demsey McKean.
Chisora, 39, is close to Joshua and has often mentored the 33-year-old during his career. However, he has not fought since a heavy defeat to Tyson Fury in December.
Joshua will need to give the green light to whoever his opponent is although there is limited time to decide due to already being in fight week, with events set to run from Wednesday to Friday’s weigh-in, before Saturday’s clash.
Meanwhile, there are still further hoops to jump through for both Joshua and Hearn, with broadcasters DAZN required to approve the new showdown.
The Brit was expected to receive more than £10m for the fight with Whyte and there is a chance DAZN may cancel or postpone a rearranged fight with a new opponent if they are less attractive commercially.
The broadcaster’s chief executive Joe Markowski was tight-lipped when speaking over the weekend.
He told IFL TV: ‘I feel for Eddie, and I feel for AJ more than anyone else, but it was the right decision to cancel the [Whyte] event. We’re in discussions with Matchroom and we’ll see what happens.
‘That (whether the fight remains pay-per-view) completely depends on the opponent, the date, all of this needs to be discussed – if it goes ahead next weekend we’ll have to wait and see.’
Former super middleweight world champion Carl Froch called for Joshua to take on Croatian Filip Hrgovic, insisting any other opponent would not satisfy the boxing public.
41-year-old American boxer Gerald Washington is seen as the front-runner to take on Joshua
Joshua’s mentor Derek Chisora (left) and Demsey McKean (right) are also in the running
‘AJ needs to fight,’ he said. ‘We’ve got Hrgovic-McKean on the undercard. This could save the show. If Hrgovic can actually agree to fight AJ and AJ fancies the job, that’s a great fight.
‘Hrgovic is a very, very capable fighter and he will give Anthony Joshua a great test. That is probably a better fight than the Dillian Whyte fight, but I’m not sure AJ would fancy that.’
Meanwhile, Andy Ruiz Jnr – who Joshua shared two epic battles with in 2019 and 2020 – also called out his former foe for a third clash as he said: ‘Anthony Joshua, let’s get the trilogy.’
It is unclear who Joshua’s opponent will ultimately be, but a decision is set to be made at some point on Monday.