Anthony Joshua will fight Robert Helenius on Saturday night as the Finnish heavyweight replaces Dillian Whyte after ‘adverse findings’ in his drugs test
- Anthony Joshua will fight Robert Helenius on Saturday in place of Dillian Whyte
- The Finnish heavyweight was beaten by Deontay Wilder two fights ago
- His rematch against Whyte was cancelled after adverse findings in drugs test
Anthony Joshua’s opponent of choice to replace the drugs-tested Dillian Whyte is a Finnish veteran in his 40th year who was knocked out in the first round by Deontay Wilder.
Robert Helenius has been beaten by Whyte and was knocked out in his fight before last by Deontay Wilder.
Unsurprisingly Saturday night’s fisticuffs at the O2 have been downgraded from pay-per-view to run-of-the-mill TV.
It is not Joshua’s fault that Whyte fell foul of a random dope test and is left pleading his innocence for a third time as he tries to salvage the fag end of his career.
But if Helenius is the answer then the question had to be how to find a substitute least likely to upset Joshua’s future plans.
Robert Helenius has been revealed as Anthony Joshua’s replacement opponent
Joshua (left) had been training to fight Dillian Whyte, but their bout was cancelled after a pre-fight drugs test returned an adverse analytical finding
Eddie Hearn insisted it is a ‘dangerous fight’ for AJ despite Helenius’ brutal first-round KO at the hands of Deontay Wilder last year
AJ is warming up this weekend for a projected mega-bucks bonanza fight with demolition puncher Wilder in Saudi Arabia in January.
Now Joshua, who banked scores of millions per outing when world heavyweight champion, is sure to have taken a substantial pay cut to get his comeback under way.
That is one reason why promoter Eddie Hearn is praising his marquee fighter for ‘his professionalism’ in rescuing Saturday’s event.
Hearn also talks up Helenius by describing the so-called Nordic Nightmare as ‘a very dangerous big puncher.’
Not as dangerous, it has to be said, as a couple of heavyweights who could have been promoted from the O2 undercard to face Joshua in the main event.
In particular undefeated Croatian Filip Hrgovic.
Joshua loyalists will still turn up and tune in to see their man in action for the first time after months of absence in Texas, where new trainer Derrick James had been rebuilding his confidence after two world title defeats by Olexsandr Usyk.
After yet another drugs controversy the wider boxing community will simply be hoping for a good clean fight
Joshua said he was ‘laser focused’ after the last-minute change to his opponent
Whyte’s adverse finding is not the first time he’s had run-ins with the anti-doping authorities
*Joshua v Helenius will be televised live this Saturday night on DAZN by regular subscription