Former world champion Anthony Joshua required seven rounds stop stand-in opponent Robert Helenius in their heavyweight contest on Saturday.
In the early stages of the match, 33-year-old Joshua appeared sluggish, prompting disapproving reactions from his London hometown crowd. Nonetheless, he ultimately concluded the bout with a resounding knockout of Finland’s Helenius at the O2 Arena.
This victory propelled Joshua forward in his trajectory for a face-off against fellow former world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
“Allow me my space in the ring, I urge people,” Joshua conveyed to DAZN. “Permit me to persist in my chosen path. I encouraged Helenius to challenge me anew. I believe he possesses the potential to trouble many opponents.”
In a light-hearted remark concerning a potential bout with Wilder, Joshua, a twice-crowned world champion, quipped, “My back is aching. Is there a doctor around? I’m determined to elevate this heavyweight division to its zenith!”
Helenius was a last-minute inclusion following his bout in Finland the previous weekend, prompted by Dillian Whyte’s disqualification from what would have been an all-British encounter due to “adverse analytical findings” in a drug test.
Helenius, aged 39, who entered the ring boasting 32 wins and four losses from his 36 professional bouts, suffered a first-round knockout by Wilder in October.
On Saturday, he evaded a recurrence of that humbling defeat, although Joshua’s cautious start drew jeers from the full-capacity audience during the third round.
During this bout, Joshua executed a left hook, followed by a right to Helenius’ face in the same round.
The local favorite again rocked Helenius in the fourth round, but the veteran boxer retaliated with a jab.
However, the fifth round left Helenius with a bloodied nose. Despite Joshua making him stumble with a left uppercut, Helenius endured and made it through an unremarkable sixth round.
In the seventh round, Joshua delivered what his fans had eagerly anticipated—a forceful right-hand punch that brought about Helenius’ knockout.
Though Helenius remained momentarily motionless, he eventually rose to his feet and shared a gesture of respect by touching gloves with Joshua.
The provided information is intended for general awareness and may not be entirely accurate or up-to-date. The post disclaims any warranties regarding the completeness, accuracy, or reliability of the content, services, or graphics on the website. It advises caution when using the information for any purpose.