Anthony Joshua delivered a stunning knockout blow to Robert Helenius in the seventh round, silencing the boos from the crowd at the O2 Arena. Joshua’s killer instinct and natural power have propelled him to success in the sport, despite starting late. Previously accused of being gun shy, Joshua had incorporated elements of the “sweet science” after his loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. However, the development of a safer approach hinted at a fear of engaging in a firefight.
Joshua’s interest in adapting his tactics increased after his first loss to Oleksandr Usyk, where he struggled against the southpaw’s speed and creativity. Although he improved in their rematch, he was still outboxed. It was only during interviews after his bouts that he allowed himself to express his true emotions. Against Jermaine Franklin, there was even a threat of a fight breaking out after the final bell.
But on this Saturday, Joshua was able to balance patience and explosiveness. For six rounds, he probed the defense of Helenius, frustrating the crowd. However, in the seventh round, he delivered a long-awaited one-shot knockout that fans had been craving. Throughout the fight, Joshua’s well-timed jabs and powerful hooks landed intermittently. The dismayed boos from the crowd only intensified, urging Joshua to finish the fight. He finally did so with a hidden right cross behind his feints, sending Helenius crashing to the canvas.
Joshua confidently walked away, recognizing that his task was accomplished. In a moment of defiance, he even added a crotch chop, showing his old swagger. Joshua expressed the need for space and plenty of fights this year to maintain his momentum. Despite being accused of holding grudges in the past, he readily forgave the fickle crowd on this occasion.
Regardless of whether Joshua’s next fight is against Deontay Wilder, this victory should not be underestimated. Fans may hold dear Joshua’s rise in the sport, including his series of knockout wins against lesser opponents. Ultimately, fighters leave behind memories and highlights, and this victory over Helenius was a long-awaited addition to Joshua’s collection. By revisiting his old form, Joshua may have rediscovered himself in the process.