Home Boxing News Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua could still fight even with a loss

Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua could still fight even with a loss

Deontay Wilder and trainer Malik Scott. Photo credit: Ryan Hafey

Conventional wisdom suggests that Anthony Joshua 25-3 (22) will need to defeat Robert Helenius 32-4 (21) at the O2 Arena in London, England on Saturday night to progress to a bout with Deontay Wilder 43-2-1 (42).

But boxing is a sport that rarely stands on convention.

The 33-year-old former two-time WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion has long been in talks with the Wilder camp to face the 37-year-old former WBC heavyweight champion in a big money fight in Saudi Arabia that is now being targeted for January.

But Joshua wanted a second hit out under new trainer Derrick James to bed in his teachings before facing a dangerous puncher like Wilder.

With that in mind, Joshua signed on to face old rival Dillian Whyte 29-3 (19) in rematch this Saturday before his opponent failed a drug test and was withdrawn from the contest last weekend.

Enter Finland’s Helenius, 37, who scored an easy third-round knockout in his homeland against overmatched Mika Mielonen 6-1 (6) last Saturday night.

Already match fit after his latest bout, the ‘Nordic Nightmare’ readily accepted the assignment.

But late replacements in boxing have a habit of upseting the applecart. No-one knows this better than Joshua, who was on the wrong end of the seventh-round knockout in June 2019 when Andy Ruiz Jr 35-2 (22) stepped in for drug cheat Jarrell Miller 26-0-1 (22) at the last minute and walked away with the unified heavyweight crown.

The stakes are high for Joshua this weekend but one thing he isn’t risking is a shot at Wilder, according to American’s trainer Malik Scott.

“I think they both should be in the ring with each other regardless,” Scott told Sky Sports News. “Performance-wise, win or lose, to me Deontay Wilder and AJ should be in a boxing ring together. It should happen.

“It would be a true tragedy if we get the Riddick Bowe-Lennox Lewis [who never fought] effect with Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua. Them two deserve to be in a ring with each other.”

The plan is for Wilder to have a tune-up fight in October in what will be his first bout in a year following his first-round knockout of Helenius last October.

“The January thing is locked in, as locked in as it’s going to be,” Scott said.

“In the boxing world nothing to me is done until it’s actually over. That’s my personal opinion. But the high [level] talk, the deal is almost done.”

Scott hastened to add that although Helenius lasted less than three minutes with Wilder, that was no guarantee that Joshua would see victory inside the distance.

“We iced him. I mean literally iced him, froze him,” Scott said.

“Helenius can fight, I love him. He has a great style, he’s long, his chin is always behind his front knee besides the time he fought us and he paid.

“AJ may be facing a way better Helenius than we had, [if] he’s not willing to make the same mistakes. We shall see.”