Anthony Joshua Stops Robert Helenius In Emphatic Fashion
The build-up to this Matchroom Boxing card was full of controversy after Dillian Whyte failed a pre-fight drug test, which led to his removal from the event. Anthony Joshua (26-3, 23 KOs) needed a new opponent and up stepped Robert Helenius (32-5, 21 KOs), to try and cause an Andy Ruiz-esque upset.
In the lead-up to the fight, Campbell Hatton impressed with a measured, mature 78-74 points win over Tom Ansell. Johnny Fisher won an entertaining heavyweight clash against Harry Armstrong for the southern area title, stopping Armstrong in round seven. Derek Chisora won a tough to watch unanimous points decision over Gerald Washington.
Sweet Caroline began, and the crowd in London and everyone watching at home knew it was time for the main event.
Is the hunger still in Joshua to surpass the greatest night in British boxing history?
Anthony Joshua Starts Slow but Wins in Devastating Fashion
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) August 12, 2023
AJ Knockout Win Over Helenius
Helenius started round one well – throwing a couple of nice-looking left hooks. The Finnish fighter looked comfortable and unnerved when AJ came forward. Joshua landed a couple of eye-catching jabs. The second round saw Helenius start confidently, but the British fighter began to find his range well with the jab and narrowly missed a massive right hand which skimmed the whiskers on his opponent’s beard.
Round three saw AJ continue to try to set traps for Helenius, but the big Finnish fighter didn’t take the bait. AJ doesn’t seem to be using combinations enough, and the crowd appears to be getting frustrated. Round four and five saw AJ let his right hands go more, and he caught his opponent with a straight right in the fourth, which sent the Finnish fighter stumbling into the ropes. Joshua seems to be letting his right hand go more, but there needs to be more coming from AJ. It feels like he’s looking for rounds, but surely a statement knockout is needed as Helenius continued to work well behind a stiff jab.
Round six saw good work behind the jab from AJ. He seemed to not capitalise on some visible openings in the defence of Helenius. Round seven started in the same vein, with AJ struggling to close the distance before he landed a concussive right hand to end the fight in an emphatic fashion, and give the crowd what they craved.
Post Fight Quotes
In the post-fight interview on DAZN, AJ was full of praise for his opponent. “I had to figure him out. He was a late replacement. He can cause a lot of people problems. Credit to him coming tonight and saving the show.”
Joshua seemed reinvigorated as he addressed the fans. “I hope I can see you again two more times this year.”
Eddie Hearn teased in the ring that the potential battle with former WBC champ Deontay Wilder is close. “It’s on to Deontay Wilder in January. Prince Khalid and Skills Challenge are here tonight. We hope to close that deal in the next couple of days.”