Former heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (26-3, 23 KOs) kept himself in position for his massive payday fight against Deontay Wilder in January by knocking out substitute opponent Robert Helenius (32-5, 21 KOs) in the seventh round of a competitive fight on Saturday night at the O2 Arena in London, England.
As he did in his fight with Wilder, Helenius allowed Joshua to back him up against the ropes and was laid out by a single right hand to the head. With the experience that Helenius has, it’s hard to believe that he allowed himself to be backed up to the ropes because he obviously knew better.
Up until Joshua, 33, landed a fight-ending right hand to the head of the 39-year-old Helenius, the fight was a chess match, involving mostly back & forth jabbing. Both fighters suffered bloody noses in the third from getting hit with hard jabs.
Whatever chance Helenius had of winning the fight, he threw it away by not attacking Joshua relentlessly like Andy Ruiz Jr did in his knockout victory in 2019. By fighting scared, only throwing jabs, Helenius put himself in a position where he would eventually be knocked out or beaten on points by Joshua.
Along the way, Joshua occasionally landed a big right hand, but there wasn’t enough of them, and he didn’t land with the kind of authority he needed to get a knockout.
Once Joshua realized that Helenius’ work rate had dropped, he went after him in the seventh round and knocked him out. The time of the stoppage was at 1:27 of round seven.
Immediately after the fight, Joshua jumped out of the ring and was congratulated by people in the round. It was unclear if he was going to return to the ring to check on Helenius and be interviewed, but he finally returned.
It did look bad on Joshua’s part that he was celebrating while Helenius was badly hurt, lying on the canvas motionless.
What looked even worse on Joshua’s part was for him to leave the ring while Helenius was still down. That was a bad sportsmanship movement on Joshua’s part.
With the win, Joshua will be potentially fighting former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder next in January, assuming Deontay doesn’t lose his tune-up fight.
Dereck Chisora defeats Gerald Washington
In the chief support bout, the old war horse heavyweight Dereck Chisora (34-13, 23 KOs) kept his career as undercard fighter going with a dull ten round unanimous decision against Gerald Washington (21-6, 13 KOs).
There was little action because the 41-year-old Washington showed little interest in engaging, choosing to run from Chisora and occasionally throwing punches.
Chisora looked tired and beatable, especially when Washington unloaded with a six-punch combination late in the seventh round. When the round ended, Chisora looked beaten and ready to be knocked out.
Fortunately for Chisora, Washington did nothing for the remainder of the fight, staying on the move and not following the instructions from his coach Malik Scott, who wanted him to let his hands go.