Dillian Whyte made a winning return to the ring with a three-round victory over Christian Hammer in Ireland.

The former WBC interim heavyweight champion, fighting for the first time since clearing his name of doping offences, proved too strong for his Romanian-born opponent in Castlebar, County Mayo.

Hammer failed to get up from his stool for the fourth round, forcing the referee to stop the bout and hand Whyte his 30th professional victory.

The 35-year-old Briton had not fought since his victory over Jermaine Franklin at Wembley in November 2022.

He had been lined up to face Anthony Joshua last August but the proposed match-up never happened after Whyte tested positive for a banned substance.

Whyte protested his innocence and was cleared to resume his career after it was accepted he had consumed a contaminated supplement.

Anthony Joshua will fight Robert Helenius at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday night after the Finnish boxer was confirmed as Dillian Whyte’s replacement.

Joshua was set to face fellow British heavyweight Whyte, but the bout had to be cancelled last weekend after “adverse analytical findings” were detected in a doping test conducted by Whyte, who has vowed to clear his name.

It left Matchroom in a race against time to find a new opponent but, 72 hours after Whyte’s failed test was made public, 39-year-old Helenius has answered the SOS from the promotion company despite having fought in Finland last weekend.

Former two-time world heavyweight champion Joshua said: “This wasn’t in the script.

“I respect Helenius and, may I say, I respect any male or female who steps into the ring.

“I am laser-focused on the win. I can make steps forward to bigger and better things but the road map has a check point – Saturday night. May the best man win.”

Helenius said: “I am excited about fighting Anthony Joshua on August 12.

“I am a true Viking that is willing to face any challenge at a moment’s notice. This is not an opportunity I was going to let slip away. I plan to make the most of it!”

Dillian Whyte has vowed to prove his innocence after returning “adverse analytical findings” in a doping test that led to the cancellation of his bout against Anthony Joshua next Saturday.

An eagerly-anticipated rematch between the British heavyweights was called off by Matchroom after the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association informed the promoters and boxing authorities about the test result.

It is understood Joshua could still fight at London’s O2 Arena as Matchroom seek a late replacement opponent for the former two-time world heavyweight champion but Whyte faces a battle to clear his name.

He wrote on his social media channels: “I am shocked and devastated to learn of a report by VADA of adverse findings relating to me.

“I only learned of it this morning and am still reacting to it. I have also just seen that the fight is being cancelled without having any chance to demonstrate my innocence before the decision was taken.

“I can confirm without a shadow of doubt that I have not taken the reported substance, in this camp or at any point in my life.

“I am completely innocent and ask to be given the time to go through the process of proving this without anybody jumping to conclusions or a trial by media.”

Whyte served a two-year drugs ban from 2012 to 2014 and was cleared of a doping violation in 2019 after UK Anti-Doping concluded the levels in his sample were “very low” and he was ultimately not to blame.

The Londoner added: “I insisted on 24/7 VADA testing for this fight, as I have done voluntarily and at my own expense for all of my fights for many, many years.

“This is not the first time that I have been reported as having an adverse finding for a substance which I have not taken, and as I did last time I will again prove that I am completely innocent.

“In the meantime all I can do is express my extreme disappointment to boxing fans, who will miss out on what was sure to be a great event.”

Whyte suffered his first professional defeat in December 2015 after being stopped by Joshua, who avenged a loss to his British rival in their amateur days.

While Joshua went on to win a world title in his next bout, Whyte rebuilt with 11 straight victories to become the WBC’s mandatory challenger before a savage knockout defeat to Alexander Povetkin in 2020.

He gained revenge in the immediate rematch but his only world title tilt to date ended in disappointing fashion when he was stopped by WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in the sixth round in April 2022.

He rebounded with an unconvincing majority points win over Jermaine Franklin last November in his most recent bout, while Joshua received criticism for his performance against the American in April.

That set the British pair on a collision course once again, and another win over Whyte would have put Joshua on the road to a showdown against ex-WBC champion Deontay Wilder in December in Saudi Arabia.

However, Matchroom said in a statement on Saturday morning: “Today, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) informed Matchroom, the Association of Boxing Commissions and the British Boxing Board of Control that Dillian Whyte had returned adverse analytical findings as part of a random anti-doping protocol.

“In light of this news, the fight will be cancelled and a full investigation will be conducted.”

Anthony Joshua’s scheduled rematch against Dillian Whyte has been cancelled after the latter “returned adverse analytical findings” from a random anti-doping test.

The Voluntary Anti-Doping Association said it had informed the Association of Boxing Commissions and the British Boxing Board of Control that a “random anti-doping protocol” undertaken by Whyte had returned the adverse findings, leading to the bout being called off and an investigation being launched.

The fight had been due to take place at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday, August 12.

Fight promoter Matchroom said in a statement: “Today, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) informed Matchroom, the Association of Boxing Commissions and the British Boxing Board of Control that Dillian Whyte had returned adverse analytical findings as part of a random anti-doping protocol.

“In light of this news, the fight will be cancelled and a full investigation will be conducted.”

Whyte lost his unbeaten 16-fight record when he was stopped by Joshua at London’s O2 Arena in December 2015 when contesting for the vacant British heavyweight title.

A rematch was announced in early July after talks over Joshua taking on Tyson Fury broke down. Former world champion Joshua had also been linked with a fight against Deontay Wilder in Saudi Arabia.

Joshua’s win over Whyte almost eight years ago avenged a defeat to his Jamaica-born rival when they had met as amateurs.

Whyte recovered from his defeat to Joshua by winning his next 11 fights and after losing to Alexander Povetkin in 2020 he gained revenge by stopping the Russian in a rematch.

Defeat to defending WBC champion Tyson Fury at Wembley in April 2022 was followed by a points win over American Jermaine Franklin the following November.

Dillian Whyte believes he should be Anthony Joshua's next opponent, claiming the 33-year-old is wasting his time by pursuing a bout against Tyson Fury.

Having suffered back-to-back defeats against Oleksandr Usyk to cede his heavyweight belts, Joshua returned to the ring to beat Jermaine Franklin via unanimous decision in London on Saturday.

After winning what was his first non-title fight in 12, Joshua called out WBC heavyweight champion Fury, who recently saw negotiations over an undisputed bout with Usyk fall through.

However, Whyte – who was ringside for Joshua's victory at the O2 Arena – does not believe Fury will accept the fight, and he wants a chance to atone for a 2015 defeat against Joshua.

Asked why he believed a rematch could be on the cards, Whyte told Sky Sports: "It's a logical fight. Fury is not a person to negotiate with, because he'll mess you around.

"If he's being offered unified heavyweight champion [by Usyk] and not taking it, what is Joshua going to offer him to take the fight? Nothing.

"He's obviously seeing Joshua as way beneath him, the fight isn't going to happen. I don't know why they are wasting their time.

"There is someone here who is willing to fight and ready to go, but for some reason Joshua seems to – I don't know if it's a tactic of his – brush it under the carpet."

Joshua had lost three of his previous five fights ahead of his win over Franklin, and Whyte believes his rival has been scarred by those defeats.

"Maybe he just doesn't want to take risks anymore," he said of Joshua. "I don't know if it's money that has made him soft, or if it's the defeats. 

"Getting knocked out and getting outclassed, I think it's more that than money, to be honest."

Anthony Joshua's camp are in discussions regarding a bout against Otto Wallin, the Swedish fighter's promoter has said.

Joshua seen his stock in the heavyweight division take a significant dip following back-to-back defeats against Oleksandr Usyk, leaving the Brit with only two wins from his past five bouts.

However, Joshua continues to be linked with top-tier opponents, Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder among them, but taking on Wallin is set to be his next challenge.

Dmitriy Salita, who represents Wallin, believes the correct approach would be for Joshua to face his client, with the winner then going on to face either Fury - who is expected to meet in Usyk in an undisputed fight.

"I had discussions with Eddie [Hearn] about Otto for a significant amount of time and as late as last week," he told the Sun.

"From what I understand it's really up to AJ. I believe he wants to place himself back in the heavyweight picture.

"Both Otto and AJ want a shot at Fury. By the numbers Otto landed more punches on Fury then anyone else ever.

"I believe the winner of that fight will have legitimate claim to challenge Fury probably after his fight with Oleksandr Usyk."

A bout with Dillian Whyte has been touted as the next test for Joshua but that proposal has been slammed by Salita.

Salita.would instead prefer the Brit to face a rematch with Jermaine Franklin after a majority decision for Whyte at Wembley last month.

"Whyte is 1-2 and in reality 1-3 in his last four fights. A fight with Joshua would be something like Roy Jones vs Mike Tyson or Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor, big names but not much behind it at this point," he added.

"Even if it's not against Jermaine, Whyte needs an impressive showing against someone credible to show that he still got the skills to pay the bills at an elite heavyweight level.

"He had four wins after that including Dominic Breazeale and Travis Kauffman, both credible at time of his victory. Otto is number three in the WBO and is a bona fide top heavyweight in the world.

"There have been lots of big names thrown around with Joshua including Tyson and Wilder. How serious that is will depend on who he fights next."

Eddie Hearn was not concerned by the failure to secure Anthony Joshua a fight against Tyson Fury, and named Dillian Whyte and Deontay Wilder as potential opponents for Joshua in 2023.

Discussions between Joshua and Fury regarding a December 3 bout collapsed earlier this month, with promoters on both sides publicly blaming each other for the breakdown in a deal.

It was the second time a proposed 'Battle of Britain' fight between the two had fallen through, having previously agreed to face one another in Saudi Arabia last year before Fury was ordered to honour his rematch with Wilder.

While a second collapse of the fight was disappointing for boxing fans, Hearn conceded he always felt it was not the right move to make.

"I don't sit here today, as someone who represents Anthony Joshua, devastated that fight didn't happen," he told Talksport.

"He wanted to take it, so I was all in, but it was a very quick turnaround for him in a fight of that magnitude."

While Fury will return to the ring in December, facing Derek Chisora in a trilogy bout at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Joshua is unlikely to fight until the first quarter of 2023, with Hearn naming Whyte and Wilder as potential opponents next year.

"I think he's going to fight [in] January or February, early next year. I think the fight you'll see is Dillian Whyte against Anthony Joshua," he added.

"Wilder is [also] definitely a fight for 2023. He's got to fight Andy Ruiz Jr in a final eliminator for the WBC, which is a tremendous fight.

"I think AJ vs Wilder might just be the biggest fight in boxing, you only need the edge of your seat to watch that fight. It's super dangerous and someone's going to sleep, but it's two fast, explosive, huge punching, heavyweight machines.

"I think you'll see either Wilder or Fury against AJ next year, but I think you'll definitely see the Dillian Whyte fight if he can get through Jermaine Franklin."

Whyte is due to face Franklin in London on November 23.

WBC champion Tyson Fury believes fellow Brit Joe Joyce is "the second-best heavyweight in the world" and suggested the two could meet in the ring in the future.

Joyce's stunning 11th-round knockout victory over Joseph Parker at the weekend led to talk of him fighting the likes of Fury and Anthony Joshua.

Parker had not been stopped in his 32 previous bouts, despite defeats to heavy-handed fighters such as Joshua and Dillian Whyte, and Joyce's win certainly impressed Fury.

"I've had a lovely day of watching boxing and watching all the big fights and studying all the heavyweights," Fury said in a video on Twitter.

"And I've got to say that big Joe Joyce is the second-best heavyweight in the world, behind myself.

"I've just looked at these prospects who are mandatory for the world title, Zhang [Zhilei] and [Filip] Hrgovic and everybody else. I've changed my mind and I think big Joe Joyce is number two heavyweight in the world."

Fury initially claimed to be retired after stopping Whyte inside six rounds at Wembley in April, but has since been rumoured to be in talks to fight the likes of Dereck Chisora and Manuel Charr.

The undisputed fight with Oleksandr Usyk is on hold until 2023, with the IBF, WBA and WBO champion needing time to recover from injuries after beating Joshua in their rematch in Saudi Arabia.

Fury himself has been involved in a public spat with Joshua, but it appears any plans for those two to fight later in 2022 are over after Joshua failed to meet Fury's deadline for signing the contracts.

And Fury has not ruled out facing Joyce in future, adding: "Who knows if he's number one? One day we'll have to find out who's better out of me and him.

"But at the moment I'm ruling the roost because I'm world heavyweight champion and he's not."

Dillian Whyte wants a rematch with Tyson Fury despite the WBC heavyweight champion claiming he would retire after retaining his title at Wembley on Saturday.

Fury maintained his unbeaten record by knocking his fellow Brit out in the sixth round in front of a packed crowd of 94,000.

The 33-year-old reiterated that he was ready to quit after putting on another show in London.

Whyte, who did not feel the referee should have stopped the bout, is hungry for another shot at Fury.

He told Sky Sports: "I should have had time to recover and had time to go back to my corner. He [Fury] said he'll retire, but hopefully he doesn't retire because I want another go."

Asked what Fury had said to him after the fight: Whyte revealed: "He said 'you're a good fighter, you're a true warrior and you'll be world champion one day,' I'm not a sore loser. You win some you lose some, this is life, this is boxing.

"I showed up and I fought and I gave as many problems as he gave me. It wasn't as if it was a one-way street.

"I'm not one of those guys that want to go out on a loss or a bad performance. I'm still young enough, I've still got a lot left in me. I still feel strong, I'm still getting better. I fought the best in the world and wasn't outclassed.

"He's a bit taller than me, the range is a bit tricky obviously and with the style, it's hard for guys to prepare for him because he's awkward in the way he fights.

"Had I got beat up for four or five rounds and got completely outclassed it may have been time to call it a day, but I wasn't outclassed and it's not a long, hard road back because I showed the level I am.

"We obviously sold 90-something thousand tickets together, it's not him or me alone. I had the value going in before, I'd had loads of pay-per-view fights before and good fights. I'm still here, I'm still good enough, so one fight and I'm back."

Tyson Fury reiterated he is ready to quit boxing after beating Dillian Whyte at Wembley to retain his WBC heavyweight title.

A sixth-round knockout gave Fury an emphatic victory, but it remains to be seen whether he can be tempted back into the ring.

This was Fury's first fight since beating Deontay Wilder in the final part of their trilogy last October in Nevada.

The undefeated 33-year-old, who improved his career record to 32-0-1, told BT Sport Box Office: "I promised my lovely wife Paris of 14 years that after the Wilder III fight that would be it, and I meant it.

"But I got offered to fight at Wembley, at home, and I believed I owed it to the fans, I owed it to every person in the United Kingdom, to come here and fight at Wembley.

"And now it's all done, I have to be a man of my word and I think this it. This might be the final curtain for the Gypsy King, and what a way to go out."

He was thrilled with the manner of his win, saying: "I think Lennox Lewis would even be proud of that right uppercut tonight."

Fury is confident there will remain quality fighters in the heavyweight ranks if he retires, praising the man he beat on Saturday night in London.

"Dillian Whyte is a warrior and I believe Dillian will be a world champion," Fury said. "But tonight he met a great in the sport. I'm one of the greatest heavyweights of all-time and unfortunately for Dillian Whyte he had to face me tonight.

"He's as strong as a bull and has got the heart of a lion, but you're not messing with a mediocre heavyweight, you're messing with the best man on the planet, and you saw that tonight with what happened."

Tyson Fury successfully defended his WBC heavyweight title with a stunning sixth-round knockout of Dillian Whyte at a packed-out Wembley.

Fury's camp had been adamant the fight would not go beyond the sixth round, and their man made good on those predictions in devastating fashion.

He controlled the opening five rounds with ease, demonstrating a gulf in reach and gulf in class between the fighters.

Whyte had struggled to make any kind of impression and his chance to do so in his maiden world title fight was taken away when Fury landed a crushing right uppercut.

The end result never looked in doubt, and the only question now is whether Fury will make good on his promise to end his career on the back of this victory.

Fury, returning to the United Kingdom after five fights in the United States, left the door open for another bout in the post-fight interview in which he suggested he would likely still walk away. 

Yet he never opened the door for Whyte to take the WBC and lineal belts away from him.

Indeed, the only time Fury ever looked perturbed was during a tempestuous fourth round in which Mark Lyson had to repeatedly get involved, warning Whyte for following in with his head and Fury for hitting on the break.

The two fighters exchanged words and that episode perhaps increased Fury's desire to end things quickly, doing so with one of the finest punches of his professional career and perhaps his last.

Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte are ready to go to "war" at Wembley on Saturday after the WBC world heavyweight champion weighed in less than a stone heavier than his fellow Brit.

Fury tipped the scales at 18 stone 12 pounds on the eve of the blockbuster battle in London.

Challenger Whyte had weighed in at 18st 1lb at Boxpark before the two Englishmen engaged in a friendly face-off.

Fury was lighter than expected as he prepares for the second defence of a title he won by beating Deontay Wilder in 2020.

The 'Gypsy King', who beat Wilder in a thrilling trilogy fight last October, has claimed this will be the last bout of his career.

If it proves to be his swansong, the unbeaten Fury plans to sign off in style in his homeland.

He told BT Sport: "I'm so happy to be back here, fighting at Wembley Stadium, and you all [(fans] made it happen.

"Big shout out to Dillian Whyte and his team, proper professional men. We're going to put on a show, it's going to be a war - don't worry about that."

Whyte says he has no concerns about Fury being heavier than him.

Asked about the significance of his weight, he replied: "Nothing, some fights are different. Fighting a bigger guy, a much heavier guy than me.

"We're ready to go to war, trust me. I'm not worried about what he's doing."

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