Venue: 02 Arena
Anthony Joshua is expected to enjoy an easy night when taking on late stand-in Robert Helenius at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday night.
Joshua was set to face fellow British heavyweight Dillian Whyte, but the latter had “adverse analytical findings” in a doping test.
AJ’s new opponent is no mug but not considered an elite-level fighter, so 4/5 for the favourite to finish him off in rounds 1-6 is our first Anthony Joshua vs Robert Helenius prediction.
Joshua ‘laser-focused’ on setting up bigger tests
Joshua is rebuilding his career after two losses to Oleksandr Usyk saw him relinquish his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles.
April’s unanimous points win over Jermaine Franklin was, perhaps understandably, a tentative performance, but a more positive approach is anticipated here.
“This wasn’t in the script, but I respect Helenius and, may I say, I respect any male or female who steps into the ring,” commented Joshua.
“I am laser-focused on the win. I can make steps forward to bigger and better things but the road map has a check point – Saturday night. May the best man win.”
With talks still ongoing around Joshua potentially facing Deontay Wilder later this year, all eyes will be on how the Briton performs against his 39-year-old opponent.
Helenius was knocked out in the first round by former world heavyweight champion Wilder in Brooklyn last October, so Joshua won’t want to let this bout drag on.
The 33-year-old Londoner’s last win inside three rounds was against Eric Molina in December 2016, though, so a quick KO would buck the trend.
‘True Viking’ Helenius ‘willing to face any challenge’
Stockholm-born Helenius (32-4, 21KOs) is no stranger to the British boxing scene, as he beat Derek Chisora via a contentious split decision to win the vacant European Championship title in 2011.
The heavyweight with an orthodox style lost to Whyte on points six years later in Cardiff but only after he took the bout at two weeks’ notice.
This will be the 37th fight of the veteran’s career, but he has only fought three times since the coronavirus pandemic started in 2020.
He is at least fully fit and coming off a win, with a third-round stoppage of Mika Mielonen earlier this month improving his record to 32-4.
“I am a true Viking that is willing to face any challenge at a moment’s notice,” declared Helenius. “This is not an opportunity I was going to let slip away. I plan to make the most of it!”
However, on all known evidence, the 6ft 7in ‘Nordic Nightmare’ should be out of his depth and it will surely be a matter of when, rather than if, Joshua proves too strong.
Our last individual round prediction came in when Terence Crawford beat Errol Spence in the ninth for an 18/1 pay-out.
This time, we’re taking 8/1 for AJ to prevail in the fifth to finish off our Anthony Joshua vs Robert Helenius betting tips.
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