Anthony Joshua will take on Robert Helenius this weekend at the O2 Arena, with the Finnish heavyweight replacing Dillian Whyte following his failed drugs test.
Whyte was forced to withdraw from Saturday’s fight just seven days before he was due to enter the ring, with the British fighter ruled out of the contest having tested positive for a banned substance. This rules out a highly anticipated rematch between the pair, eight years on from their last meeting at the same venue.
This has led to the 39-year-old Helenius being called up to fight at the last minute, taking on Joshua for the first time having previously fought the likes of Whyte and Tyson Fury. His last fight was a first-round knockout defeat by Deontay Wilder in October 2022 and now faces another huge name in the heavyweight division live on DAZN.
Helenius has long-since been a recognisable name in the heavyweight division, without ever having challenged for a world title, but has now earned a date with one of the biggest names in British boxing on an exciting card. Upon the announcement of the fight, he said: “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!”
Joshua is in the process of plotting his path back into world title contention, with a knockout win against Jermaine Franklin at the O2 on April 1st his first step back into the ring following successive defeats to Oleksandr Usyk. “This wasn’t in the script,” said Joshua.
“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.”