By Alan Hubbard

Anthony_Joshua_head_and_shouldersFebruary 27 - Super-heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua, 21, a leading contender for Britain's London 2012 Olympic team, is facing a serious drugs charge.

He is due to appear in court at Hendon, West London on Wednesday (March 2) accused of possession of an illegal substance with intent to supply.

It is a double blow for the sport as an investigation has been ordered into an unrelated allegation of the use of recreational drugs at a training camp for women boxers.

Londoner Joshua. the current ABA champion  and a a member of the Sheffield-based GB Development Squad,  is one of the hottest prospects in amateur boxing.

The 6ft.6in, 16-stone ko specialist from Finchley recently turned down a £50,000 offer to turn professional in order to concentrate on winning a place in the London Games.

A spokesperson for the British Amateur Boxing Association said: "We have been made aware of an incident involving a member of the GB Boxing Development squad.

"As part of our Athlete Disciplinary Process we are conducting an investigation into this matter and, given the nature of the charge, have suspended the person involved pending the outcome of that process."

Joshua, British-born of Nigerian parents, won the senior ABA title in only his 18th bout last year.

This is the second embarrassing drugs issue to rock amateur boxing.

Richard Caborn, the former Labour Sports Minister, now President of the Amateur Boxing Association of England (ABAE), has confirmed to insidethegames that he has ordered an inquiry into an allegation of the use of recreational drugs at an ABAE training camp for young women boxers in Bradford.

This is said to have occurred two years ago but a formal complaint was only made to Caborn last week by a former ABAE Council member.

Caborn said: "I have received a file which I have passed to the ABA board and asked them to set up an internal inquiry.

"Depending on the outcome we will take any disciplinary action which may be necessary." I understand it is claimed that an ABA official was made aware of the alleged incident but no action was taken because of the fear of adverse publicity.

But Caborn insisted: "As far as know there was no cover-up.

"The allegation is that some cannabis was smoked.

"I don't know whether or not it was reported at the time and if it was why no action was taken but I will sort it out.

"I am a bit surprised it has been raised after all this time."

The camp in question was one of the early ones run by the ABA for young female boxing prospects.

There were more than 50 girls in attendance all aged 17 or under.

"Some from pretty tough backgrounds," according to Caborn.

This is the second current inquiry into affairs at the troubled ABAE.

We recently reported that following a complaint from a "whistleblower" to Sport England an independent panel was set up to probe allegations of financial mismanagement.

Caborn said: "It is a pity there has to be this negative publicity for amateur boxing a time when we seem to be doing brilliantly in our progress toward towards 2012 It is the last thing we want."

Related stories
February 2011: Exclusive - English boxing accused of financial mismanagement