Anthony Joshua lost his opponent due to a drugs test
The topsy-turvy career of Anthony Joshua took another turn (for the worst) this week, though through no fault of his own. On Saturday he was all set to face Dillian Whyte in a thoroughly underwhelming match-up at London’s O2 Arena. However, that fight fell through over the weekend after what are being called ‘adverse findings’ on a VADA drug test on the part of Whyte.
With seven days to go, team Joshua scrambled for an opponent. And now they’ve delivered. So, Enter the Viking.
Anthony Joshua will fight Robert Helenius
Swedish-Finnish fighter Robert Helenius got the call up to face Joshua. Despite being a former European and International heavyweight champion, boxing fans will mostly recognize Helenius from the absolute smashing he took at the hand of Deontay Wilder last year.
Wilder took on Helenius as his comeback fight after back-to-back stoppage losses to Tyson Fury in 2020 and 2021. Those losses cost Wilder his WBC heavyweight title and lead to a year long hiatus for The Bronze Bomber.
Despite the hype machine doing it’s best to say the 6’6″ Nordic fighter would pose a challenge, Wilder obliterated Helenius after just two and a half minutes, landing exactly one punch. That KO punch left Helenius on the canvas, sleeping with his eyes open.
Check it below if you haven’t already seen it.
Since that Helenius did score a win over Mike Mielonen (a third round TKO) to take his pro record to 32-4 (21 KOs).
Joshua struggling to stay relevant
Joshua was heralded as the next big thing in heavyweight boxing (especially by partisan Brits) after he defeated Wladimir Klitschko by 11th round TKO in Wembley Stadium back in 2017. From there the former Olympic chammpion beat Jospeh Parker and Alexander Povetkin to become two belts shy of undisputed champion status.
Disaster struck for Joshua in 2019 when he suffered a shock seventh round TKO loss to Andy Ruiz, costing him all his titles. He would reclaim those belts with a unanimous decision win later that year and then go on to KO Kubrat Pulev the following year.
With Joshua seemingly back on track he faced Oleksandr Usyk in London in 2021. Usyk put on a master class of heavyweight boxing and won that bout by unanimous decision. Usyk then defeated Joshua by split decision in the rematch, in Saudi Arabia, last year.
This April, Joshua took a unanimous decision win over Jermaine Franklin. With Whyte now out of action, Joshua will be hoping for an easy win over Helenius on this current edition of his rehabilitation tour.
However, now at 33-years-old, with plenty of blemishes on his record, it feels unlikely we’ll ever see Joshua back in there with the greats of his generation.
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