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Anthony Joshua Finds Replacement Opponent In Robert Helenius

Anthony Joshua Finds Replacement Opponent In Robert Helenius featured image
Robert Helenius has been chosen as the replacement for Dillian Whyte and will be facing Anthony Joshua on August 12th. (Photo by Matchroom Boxing/Sports)

Former unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua found himself without an opponent for several days following reports of Whyte’s failed drug test on August 5th. However, a new opponent has now been secured on August 8th in Finnish heavyweight Robert Helenius, who recently fought on August 5th and recorded a TKO win.

Anthony Joshua (25-3, 22 KO’s) and Robert Helenius (32-4, 21 KO’s0 are set to headline the August 12th card, a slot that was initially intended for Joshua’s match against Dillian Whyte (29-3, 19 KO’s). The decision to select Helenius as an opponent carries a certain level of risk, not only in terms of competitiveness but also because Helenius suffered a first-round knockout at the hands of Deontay Wilder (43-2-1, 42 KO’s) last October.

At 39 years old, Helenius is widely recognized as being past his prime. If Anthony Joshua fails to secure a knockout or stoppage victory in the early rounds, it could lead to decreased interest in his future fights. This factor adds to the gamble of facing Helenius. Despite holding no championship belts, Joshua faces immense expectations, and his upcoming bout against Helenius will inevitably draw comparisons to Deontay Wilder’s swift victory over the Finnish boxer last year.

Standing at 6 feet 7 inches, Robert Helenius is known for his powerful punches, evident from his impressive 65% knockout ratio. Nevertheless, it is in Anthony Joshua’s best interest to avoid an extended bout with the Finnish heavyweight. After Joshua’s widely-considered underwhelming performance against Jermaine Franklin (22-2, 14 KO’s), which left both fellow athletes and media outlets disappointed, Joshua’s primary chance to impress lies in securing a TKO/KO victory, ideally within the first half of the fight.

The fight is scheduled for a total of 12 rounds. The remainder of the undercard matches will proceed as planned, with notable bouts including Filip Hrgovic (15-0, 12 KO’s) against Demsey McKean (22-0, 14 KO’s) and Derek Chisora (33-13, 23 KO’s) facing Gerald Washington (20-5-1, 13 KO’s).

Amid swirling rumors of a potential fight between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder, slated for late this year or early next year, this match presents an opportunity for Joshua to silence his doubters. Despite reservations surrounding his choice to face Robert Helenius, this bout should serve as a benchmark for Joshua to demonstrate his capabilities and reaffirm his potential as a future world heavyweight champion.

It is worth noting that more reputable fighters who were considered as replacements for Dillian Whyte, such as Andy Ruiz Jr. (35-2, 22 KO’s) and Otto Wallin (25-1, 24 KO’s), have been overlooked in favor of Helenius. This decision may not reflect favorably on Joshua or his team. With a lineup of heavyweights, including Hrgovic and Washington, having been rejected in favor of Helenius, Joshua faces heightened pressure, as he has opted for an opponent seemingly of lower ability than the alternatives before him.