Boxing Tonight: Anthony Joshua vs Robert Helenius – Routine Victory or Deja vu?

By Boxing News - 08/12/2023 - Comments

By Vince Dw’riter: Former two-time unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua was set to rematch his rival Dillian Whyte, but Whyte failed his drug test, and now Joshua will face Robert Helenius (32-4, 21 KOs) on Saturday, August 12th at the O2 Arena in London, live on DAZN.

Back in December 2015, Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte clashed in a bout that was billed as “Bad Intentions.” In the seventh round of a fight that was a classic toe-to-toe battle, Joshua landed a big right uppercut that sent Whyte down to the canvas. Whyte was counted out, and Joshua became the new British heavyweight champion.

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Four months later, Joshua would elevate his status from British heavyweight champion to world heavyweight champion when he scored a 2nd round knockout victory over Charles Martin and won the IBF heavyweight title.

Joshua became a unified champion on April 29, 2017, when he posted an 11th round TKO victory over Wladimir Klitschko to win the vacant WBA heavyweight title. He would go on to add to his strap collection eleven months later when he beat Joseph Parker and won the WBO belt.

Joshua was recognized as one of the premier heavyweights, as he captured three of the four major belts. The undefeated unified heavyweight champion was living the dream, but the dream became a horrific nightmare when Joshua made his debut in the United States.

On June 1, 2019, at Madison Square Garden, the 25-1 underdog Andy Ruiz Jr scored four knockdowns against Anthony Joshua as he went on to earn a 7th round TKO victory. Joshua would avenge his loss to Ruiz six months later, but unfortunately for Joshua, he would soon face another adverse situation.

After conquering the cruiserweight division and competing in two heavyweight bouts, the former undisputed cruiserweight champion 0leksandr Usyk outboxed Joshua and gave him back-to-back losses. Joshua would bounce back eight months after the second loss and defeat Jermaine Franklin by way of unanimous decision.

The victory over Franklin marked the first time Joshua worked with the 2020 Sports Illustrated Trainer of the Year Derrick James. The new duo was set to face Dillian Whyte, but Whyte failed his drug test and now Joshua is ready to take on a replacement opponent.

Finland’s Robert Helenius is a 39-year-old heavyweight who has notable wins over former world heavyweight champions Lamon Brewster, Siarhei Liakhovich, and Samuel Peter. The 6’7″ Helenius is a boxer who is accustomed to being aggressive, pressing forward, and throwing hard power shots.

Back in October 2022, Robert Helenius was being aggressive and pressing forward against Deontay Wilder until the closing seconds of round one when Wilder knocked Helenius out as he connected with a counter right hand shot. Helenius bounced back in his next fight as he beat Mika Mielonen by 3rd round TKO.

Now Robert Helenius has another big opportunity as he is on the verge of facing a former unified champion on one week’s notice. However, Helenius should be well-conditioned for the bout due to the fact that he just fought last week when he beat Mielonen.

Anthony Joshua (25-3, 22 KOs) needs an impressive victory in order to boost his confidence and also to keep a potential showdown with former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in play.

The 33-year-old Joshua has issues when it comes to facing opponents with hand speed, but fortunately for Joshua, he holds the hand speed advantage over Helenius. On Saturday night, August 12th, at the 02 Arena, Anthony Joshua will be seeking a routine victory while Robert Helenius is hoping for a case of deja vu.

The last time the former unified heavyweight champion faced an opponent on short notice was back in June 2019 when Joshua’s scheduled opponent Jarrell Miller failed the drug test, and Andy Ruiz Jr stepped in on short notice. Ruiz went on to pull off the shocking upset.

Fast forward four years later, and Dillian Whyte fails a drug test and Robert Helenius steps in as a late replacement. Now the question is, on Saturday night, August 12th, routine victory or deja vu?

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