Featured image: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.

Matchroom Boxing have announced that Robert Helenius returned an adverse finding in a Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) test taken a day before his defeat to Anthony Joshua earlier this month.

Helenius was brought in as a late replacement one week before the fight after Joshua’s previous opponent Dillian Whyte also returned an adverse finding in the build-up.

The statement reads in full: “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.

“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.”

Finland’s Helenius also released a statement earlier today pleading his innocence after news of the adverse finding broke on Friday evening.

“I want to say something very clear in my own words right now with absolutely no exception,” he said.

“I did not use any performance enhancement now or ever. I have been tested my entire career.

“I was just told that I tested positive for the presence of a non-steroid substance in my system and I wanted to send an immediate direct message to Anthony Joshua and boxing fans that I didn’t cheat and never would.

“I volunteer to work with VADA and the BBBofC to do whatever it takes to clear my name.”

Joshua landed his first stoppage in two-and-a-half years with a seventh-round knockout victory over Helenius at the O2 Arena on August 12th.

The former two-time heavyweight champion has not yet provided reaction to news of the adverse finding.

Joshua stands over a fallen Helenius in the seventh in London earlier this month. Photo by Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.

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