Home Boxing News Robert Helenius confirmed as Anthony Joshua opponent

Robert Helenius confirmed as Anthony Joshua opponent

‘The Nordic Nightmare’ Robert Helenius (32-4, 21 KOs), is the man that will step in to fight Anthony Joshua this Saturday. Speculation has been rife on who would face the Watford man, after original opponent Dillian Whyte was ruled out due to adverse findings in a VADA drug test.

Many names have been linked to the fight including those already on the O2 Arena card like Dereck Chisora, Filip Hrgovic, Demsey McKean & Gerald Washington. Other names mentioned included Andy Ruiz Jr, Martin Bakole, Otto Wallin & Manuel Charr.

Robert Helenius, 39, turned professional back in 2008 and has fought in Germany, Finland (where he lives), USA & Estonia. His only appearance in the UK was in 2017, when he dropped a 12-round unanimous decision to Dillian Whyte, in Cardiff’s Principality Stadium. The contest was on the undercard of Anthony Joshua vs Carlos Takam.

Helenius fights out of the orthodox stance and stands just under 6’7. He’s coming off a third-round stoppage of Mika Mielonen, this past Saturday. In his previous fight he was stopped in a round by hard-hitting Deontay Wilder.
Helenius holds wins over Adam Kownacki, Samuel Peter, Erkan Teper & Dereck Chisora. He’ll be a heavy underdog against Anthony Joshua (25-3, 22 KOs), who is coming off a 12-round decision win over Jermaine Franklin.

The situation isn’t ideal but the show has been saved and Helenius will show ambition but should be outgunned by the fresher Joshua.

Anthony Joshua: “This wasn’t in the script. I respect Helenius and may I say, I respect any male or female who steps into the ring. 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. May the best man win.

Robert Helenius: “I am excited about fighting Anthony Joshua on August 12. I am a true Viking that is willing to face any challenge at a moment’s notice. This is not an opportunity I was going to let slip away. I plan to make the most of it!”

Matchroom Sport chairman Eddie Hearn said: “To get the news on Saturday was really disappointing, not only for us but for Anthony Joshua and for the fans. But we got to work and we have done what we’re good at – and we have managed to keep the show on. AJ has been unbelievable throughout this whole process. He is someone who is ready to fight having trained for 12 weeks in Dallas with Derrick James. He has always been a great pro but this just shows me again the hunger he has for the sport. He wants to go out there this Saturday in front of a sold-out crowd at The O2 and perform. There were a lot of options. But we had to make sure it was the right fight for the right deal. I think Robert Helenius is a good fight. 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. Ultimately there is criticism in whatever you do, but I actually think this is a tricky and dangerous fight.”

Alfie Sharman VP DAZN said: “DAZN were incredibly disappointed about the cancellation of our original main event on Saturday and are extremely appreciative of the efforts by all involved to get this new fight across the line. Robert has been in with some of the best in the division, and this will be another hard night for Anthony Joshua. Tune in live and exclusive on DAZN.”

Tickets will remain valid for all existing ticketholders. Refunds will be available for ticketholders from the original point of purchase.

Existing DAZN subscribers can watch Joshua vs Helenius live and exclusive on DAZN as part of their DAZN subscription. No Pay-Per-View purchase required. If you’re not yet a DAZN subscriber, sign up at DAZN.com where monthly prices start at £9.99 per month.

Saturday’s sold-out event will now be available to watch worldwide on DAZN via the usual subscription service. Fans will be able to claim a refund directly for any pay-per-view pre-orders they had made via DAZN.

The Undercard

On a huge night of Heavyweight action in the Capital, IBF Mandatory World Title challenger Filip Hrgovic (15-0, 12 KOs) clashes with Australia’s undefeated contender Demsey McKean (22-0, 14 KOs) for a shot at Ukraine’s unified World Champion Oleksandr Usyk, two-time World Title challenger and fan favourite Derek Chisora (33-12, 23 KOs) returns to the scene of so many of his famous wins to take on America’s Gerald Washington (20-5-1, 13 KOs) over ten rounds and Romford sensation Johnny Fisher (9-0, 8 KOs) has the opportunity to land his first belt when he faces off with Torquay’s Harry Armstrong (5-1-1) for the vacant Southern Area Title.

Elsewhere on the card, Hyde Super-Lightweight Campbell Hatton (12-0, 5 KOs) takes on Hitchen’s Tom Ansell (10-4, 2 KOs) over eight rounds, Billericay Middleweight prospect George Liddard (3-0, 3 KOs) goes for another knockout against Bas Oosterweghel (5-1, 3 KOs), Wales Featherweight talent Brandon Scott (5-0, 1 KO) makes his Matchroom debut against Shepshed’s Louis Norman (14-13-1, 2 KOs) and Eltham Super-Flyweight Maiseyrose Courtney (3-0) faces her toughest test against Bournemouth’s Gemma Ruegg (7-7, 1 KO).