Robert Helenius steps in to fight Anthony Joshua as late replacement for Dillian Whyte | Inquirer Sports

Robert Helenius steps in to fight Anthony Joshua as late replacement for Dillian Whyte

/ 12:27 PM August 09, 2023

Robert Helenius boxing anthony joshua

FILE PHOTO: Finland’s Robert “The Nordic Nightmare” Helenius is declared the winner after defeating Poland’s Adam Kownacki in a heavyweight bout at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 9, 2021. Picture taken October 9, 2021. REUTERS/Steve Marcus/File Photo

LONDON- Finnish heavyweight Robert Helenius has stepped in at short notice to fight former world champion Anthony Joshua in London on Saturday after Dillian Whyte was ruled out by a dope test.

Promoters Matchroom said on Tuesday the 39-year-old ‘Nordic Nightmare’, who fought in Finland at the weekend, will face the Briton at London’s O2 with the undercard remaining as previously scheduled.

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Helenius, who stopped compatriot Mika Mielonen in three rounds last Saturday, fought American former WBC world champion Deontay Wilder in New York last October and lost by first round knockout.

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“This wasn’t in the script,” said Joshua, who lost his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO belts to Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk in September 2021.

“I am laser focused on the win. I can make steps forward to bigger and better things but the road map has a check point, Saturday night.”

Whyte was removed after it was announced last Saturday he had returned “adverse analytical findings as part of a random anti-doping protocol”.

Marchroom Sport chairman Eddie Hearn said Helenius was a good opponent.

“Yes, he lost to Deontay Wilder but that was by a shot that would have probably knocked out a horse. But he came to fight. He can really punch, he’s 6ft 8in and he won at the weekend,” added the Briton.

“Ultimately there is criticism in whatever you do, but I actually think this is a tricky and dangerous fight.”

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TAGS: Anthony Joshua, Robert Helenius

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