Heavyweight Dillian Whyte, recently cleared of a doping violation, was reinstated as the WBC's interim heavyweight world titleholder on Wednesday.
Last Friday, United Kingdom Anti-Doping announced that it had withdrawn a doping charge against Whyte, a ruling that came 24 hours before Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs) outpointed former world title challenger Mariusz Wach on the undercard of the heavyweight title rematch between Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
Whyte had controversially been added to the card only a couple of weeks earlier, even though the doping issue still had not been dealt with.
On July 20, Whyte, 31, of England, rallied from a ninth-round knockdown to win a unanimous decision over Oscar Rivas to claim the WBC's vacant interim heavyweight belt. However, Whyte was allowed to fight by British regulators despite having failed a drug test during the week of the fight.
A random test conducted by UKAD, which oversees drug testing in the United Kingdom, came back positive for the banned steroid dianabol in his A sample. It remains unknown if Whyte asked for his B sample to be tested. UKAD, for reasons never made clear, allowed Whyte to face Rivas. The Rivas camp was never told about the failed drug test, angering the fighter and his team.
But on Friday UKAD cleared Whyte of the violation.
"Having rigorously scrutinized and investigated the detailed factual and scientific evidence provided by Mr. Whyte, UKAD is satisfied that the presence of the very low amounts of metabolites in his June 20, 2019 sample was not caused by any fault, negligence or wrongdoing on Mr. Whyte's part and, given the circumstances, could not have affected the fight between Mr. Whyte and Mr. Rivas," UKAD said in it statement on Friday.
The WBC had withdrawn its recognition of Whyte as its interim titleholder but said it would wait for UKAD to issue its findings before making a permanent decision.
On Wednesday, the WBC also cleared Whyte and reinstated him. "In light of that adverse finding, and pending the outcome of the WBC's own investigation and adjudicatory process, on July 30, 2109, the WBC provisionally suspended its recognition of Dillian Whyte as WBC interim world heavyweight champion and mandatory challenger of the division," the WBC said. "On December 6, 2019, UKAD made a public announcement withdrawing its charge against Dillian Whyte. Based on limited but detailed research and information gathering, including the WBC's consultation with two independent experts, the WBC found that there was no sufficient or conclusive evidence that Whyte intentionally, or even knowingly, ingested a banned substance with the purpose of enhancing his performance in any fashion.
"In light of the WBC's own finding and of UKAD's withdrawal of the claim against Mr. Whyte, the WBC has closed its internal investigation. The WBC is hereby lifting its provisional suspension and confirming its recognition of Mr. Whyte as WBC interim world heavyweight champion."
The WBC further said that Whyte shall become the mandatory challenger for the winner of the rematch between titlist Deontay Wilder and lineal champion Tyson Fury, who are scheduled to fight on Feb. 22. The WBC said the mandatory fight would be due "on or about February of 2021."