Campbell Hatton is looking ahead to the next steps of his career as a professional boxer and reflects on being part of a boxing dynasty. The focus of tonight’s fight at the O2 Arena is Anthony Joshua, who will be facing Robert Helenius on short notice after Dillian Whyte’s withdrawal. This is Joshua’s third fight against Whyte, with their previous encounters resulting in a loss and a knockout win for Joshua. However, Whyte’s recent drug test finding forced him out of the main event, and Helenius stepped in as a replacement.
Helenius, who was a former sparring partner of Joshua, recently won a fight in Finland just seven days before this match. He rebounded from a first-round loss to Deontay Wilder in October by defeating Mika Mielonen. Joshua, on the other hand, last fought in April and won against Jermaine Franklin. This victory was crucial for Joshua in response to his back-to-back losses to Oleksandr Usyk. The question now is whether Joshua can maintain his momentum and potentially secure a fight with Wilder.
The weigh-in for the Joshua-Helenius fight saw an intense face-off between the two heavyweights. Joshua confronted Helenius, asking if he had a problem with him. Although their previous interactions had been amicable, tensions rose during the staredown. Joshua made it clear that a fight between them was inevitable, stating, “Either we’re gonna fight now or we’re gonna fight tomorrow, either way, we’re gonna fight.”
Joshua has faced criticism in recent years, even in victory. Some view him as lacking the boxing skills of Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk or the power of Deontay Wilder. He also no longer holds an unbeaten record or the titles that his heavyweight peers possess. However, Joshua has consistently set himself apart in one aspect. Find out more in the opinion piece below.
In the lead-up to the fight, there was uncertainty due to a dispute over gloves. Helenius and his team were dissatisfied with what they perceived as limited padding on Joshua’s gloves compared to their own. While the British Boxing Board of Control had approved both gloves, tensions arose between the camps. Eventually, the issue was resolved, and the fight proceeded.
Helenius’s decision to accept the fight against Joshua on short notice was based on more than just bravery. He believes Joshua is vulnerable and sees this as the best time to face him. Helenius acknowledges that in Finland, if he were caught using performance-enhancing substances, the consequences would be severe. He criticizes the inconsistency in anti-doping regulations across different countries.
Joshua remains calm and acknowledges that doping is an issue in boxing. He hopes that Whyte’s drug test result was a mistake and emphasizes the importance of thorough testing. Joshua also expresses his lack of knowledge regarding the specifics of Whyte’s case.
Meanwhile, Whyte maintains his innocence and requests time to prove it properly, without any rush to judgement or trial by media.
Helenius, known as the “Nordic Nightmare,” seemingly retired after his defeat to Wilder. However, he returned to the ring and defeated Mielonen, which served as a warm-up for the Joshua fight. With a professional record of 32-4, including notable fights against Whyte and Derek Chisora, Helenius is prepared to take on Joshua.
The main card of the event is scheduled to start at 7pm BST, with the main event ring walks expected around 10pm BST. The fight will be live-streamed on Dazn.