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Who is Robert Helenius as Finnish heavyweight will take on Anthony Joshua at the O2 this weekend despite fighting three days ago

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Robert Helenius has been named as Anthony Joshua‘s new opponent for this weekend’s heavyweight showdown.

The Finnish fighter agreed to step in despite fighting three days ago. He will replace  Dillian Whyte after he returned ‘adverse analytical findings’ in a pre-fight drugs test.

Helenius, 39, fought Mika Mielonen last weekend – winning via third-round TKO in his home country of Finland.

This weekend’s fight with Joshua will be one of the toughest tests of Helenius’ career so far. 

Mail Sport breaks down everything you need to know about Robert Helenius ahead of his showdown with Anthony Joshua this weekend. 

Finnish heavyweight Robert Helenius will fight Anthony Joshua at the O2 Arena this weekend

Finnish heavyweight Robert Helenius will fight Anthony Joshua at the O2 Arena this weekend 

Joshua was supposed to fight DIllian Whyte after he returned 'adverse analytical findings' in a pre-fight drugs test

Joshua was supposed to fight DIllian Whyte after he returned ‘adverse analytical findings’ in a pre-fight drugs test

Who is Robert Helenius?

Born in Stockholm, Helenius lived in Sweden until the age of two before moving to Finland.

The heavyweight star holds both Finnish and Swedish citizenship and has represented Sweden a few times after having a dispute with the Finnish boxing association. 

Helenius currently resides in Lumparland municipality in Aland. 

He began training under his father at the age of 5. In 2000, the Finnish fighter won bronze at the European Championships in Patras.

His breakthrough year came in 2006 when he finished second in the European Amateur Boxing Championships in Plovdiv.

Helenius has suffered four defeats in his professional career, losing to the likes of Johann Duhaupas, Dillian Whyte, Gerald Washington and Deontay Wilder

Helenius has suffered four defeats in his professional career, losing to the likes of Johann Duhaupas, Dillian Whyte, Gerald Washington and Deontay Wilder

When did he make his debut and who has he fought?

Helenius made his professional debut in 2008 against Gene Pukall, where he would win via first-round TKO.

His first real test came two years later when he fought for the European Union heavyweight title against Gregory Tony.

Helenius defeated Tony via sixth-round TKO and would go on to defend the title four times.

He came the European champion in 2011 after defeating Derek Chisora on points in his home country. 

His first professional defeat came in 2015 when he was knocked out by Johann Duhaupas. 

The Finnish heavyweight has since lost to Dillian Whyte, Gerald Washington and Deontay Wilder. 

What is his record?

Helenius has a professional record of 32-4. As eluded to earlier, his last win came three days ago against Mielonen. 

Before that, he suffered a devastating first-round knockout to Wilder in New York.

His most notable wins are against both Chisora and Adam Kownacki.

His most notable win of his career came against Derek Chisora back in 2011

His most notable win of his career came against Derek Chisora back in 2011

What has been said on the fight? 

Despite fighting just three days ago, Helenius revealed that he was not going to turn down an opportunity to fight Joshua.

‘I am excited about fighting Anthony Joshua on August 12,’ Helenius 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.’

Matchroom Sport chairman Eddie Hearn revealed that Helenius will prove to be a tough fight for Joshua.

‘To get the news on Saturday was really disappointing, not only for us but for Anthony Joshua and for the fans. But we got to work, and we have done what we’re good at – and we have managed to keep the show on.

‘AJ has been unbelievable throughout this whole process. He is someone who is ready to fight having trained for 12 weeks in Dallas with Derrick James. He has always been a great pro, but this just shows me again the hunger he has for the sport. He wants to go out there this Saturday in front of a sold-out O2 and perform. There were a lot of options. But we had to make sure it was the right fight for the right deal.

‘I think Robert Helenius is a good fight. Yes, he lost to Deontay Wilder but that was by a shot that would have probably knocked out a horse! But he came to fight. He can really punch, he’s 6ft 8in and he won at the weekend. Ultimately there is criticism in whatever you do, but I actually think this is a tricky and dangerous fight.’

Eddie Hearn revealed that Helenius will prove to be a tough fight for Joshua

Eddie Hearn revealed that Helenius will prove to be a tough fight for Joshua