By: Gyang Dakwo
Former heavyweight world champion, Anthony Joshua, beats Finnish stand-in Robert Helenius with a seventh round single-punch knockout on Saturday to keep himself on track for a lucrative payday against American Deontay Wilder next year.
Helenius, stepping in after Britain’s Dillian Whyte was ruled out of the non-title fight by a dope test a week ago, lasted longer than expected but crashed to the canvas one minute and 27 seconds into the round.
Some of the crowd at London’s 02 Arena, who had grown restless – with some booing already in the third round – were heading for the exit by then as Joshua failed to deliver immediate fireworks.
Joshua looked nervous and stiff at the start and strangely tentative when Helenius, who fought in Finland only a week ago, appeared to be out on his legs and ready for the taking.
Meanwhile Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn, said, “I knew this would happen, everyone’s talking about the new AJ and the old AJ and after two or three rounds the crowd starts to get a little bit impatient. “He finds the measure of his right hand and he delivers one of the knockouts of the year on Robert Helenius… this is just the AJ you’re going to see now. “He’s still got to be more aggressive than we saw tonight but there’s a lot on the line.”
The knockout was the 23rd of Joshua’s career, taking his record to 26 wins and three defeats, but his first since December 2020 when he beat Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev in a WBA, IBO, IBF and WBO title defence in London.