Anthony Joshua will take on Finland’s Robert Helenius in London’s O2 Arena on Saturday, it has been confirmed.
Helenius, who was 32 wins and four losses in his career, has been drafted into the bout on short notice to replace original opponent Dillian Whyte, who failed a voluntary drug test last week and was removed from the contest.
“This wasn’t in the script,” Joshua said in a press release ahead of the hastily-arranged boxing match. “I am laser focused on the win.”
Helenius, meanwhile said: “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.”
The Finn fought last weekend, defeating compatriot Mika Mielonen via third-round TKO in his native country. Prior to that, Helenius was knocked out in the first round by Deontay Wilder last October. Joshua is strongly linked to a fight with Wilder if, as expected, he gets past Helenius in London this weekend.
“With a week to go before one of the biggest fights of the year I was shocked and dumfounded. AJ sent me a message which was unbelievably calm,” promtoer Eddie Hearn said of Joshua’s reaction to Whyte being removed from Saturday’s fight. “AJ is desperate to fight. He has looked unbelievable in camp. I have never seen him in such good shape.”
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