Eddie Hearn says Helenius ideal opponent for Joshua to prepare for Wilder

By Michael Collins - 08/09/2023 - Comments

Eddie Hearn feels that Robert Helenius is the ideal opponent to get Anthony Joshua prepared for his January fight in Saudi Arabia against Deontay Wilder.

Helenius (32-4, 21 KOs) has similar height and power as the 6’7″ Wilder, and he’s someone that the former two-time heavyweight champion Joshua (25-3, 22 KOs) will need to be cautious with the entire time.

Joshua can’t afford to get reckless against Helenius as he did in his first fight with Andy Ruiz Jr. four years ago in June 2019.

Helenius fought last weekend, beating Mika Mielonen by a third round knockout at the Olavinlinna, Savonlinna, Finland. The referee stepped in and stopped the fight after Helenius rocked Mielonen with a thunderous right hand that had him out on his feet.

Joshua can’t allow Helenius to land similar shots against him because he can’t take those kinds of punches. His chin isn’t built to withstand the type of firepower that Helenius can dish out, especially at this point in his career.

Joshua was even hurt by Oleksandr Usyk, which lends credence to the theory that AJ hasn’t fully recovered from being dropped by Wladimir Klitschko in 2017.

AJ & Helenius will meet in the main event this Saturday night, August 12th, at the O2 Arena in London.

“You need someone that’s in shape, someone that you can do a deal with that’s not going to mess around, and someone that will show up and solve this problem and all things considered, I feel like Robert Helenius is a good choice,” said Eddie Hearn to Fight Hub TV, talking about Anthony Joshua’s replacement opponent for Saturday night, Robert Helenius.

“He just boxed on Saturday, he’s just done a camp, he’s just won by knockout in the third round, he’s six foot nine, and he can punch,” Hearn continued about Helenius.

“When you’re going into a Wilder fight, the style is quite similar. Tall, upright, long arms and it still has jeopardy, this fight. AJ’s still a big favorite, but it ain’t a gimme, and you know we know what happened last time there was a late replacement after a drug testing issue for an Anthony Joshua fight.

“We definitely don’t want that on Saturday, so this is the best I’ve seen AJ look physically and mentally, and I want to see him perform on Saturday night.

“That was the reason for him really fighting. Twelve weeks of hard work with Derrick James. He wasn’t prepared to throw it away.

“You become numb to this kind of news, but I remember when Jarrell Miller failed his drug test,” said Hearn about his initial thoughts when he learned Dillian Whyte had tested positive for a banned substance.

“We’d sold out Madison Square Garden, and it was AJ’s American debut. Honestly, I nearly crumbled to the floor. That was four years ago now. It was almost like I had to go into a room, lay down, and just sort of try and get my thoughts together on what I was going to do.

“After the Conor Benn stuff, it just sort of bounces off you. You become so resilient. I’m not trying to blow my own trumpet, but this is the same. In life, in sports, in business. The more you put yourself in s***y situations, the easier they are to deal with.

“I know that now Dillian Whyte has the fight of his life to try and resolve this issue, but at the same time, none of it really makes sense. He knows he’s going into an extensive testing program with VADA. There’s really no way out of it.

“You can’t ignore the results at the same time, and you can speak to Dillian’s team as I did, and they said, ‘Ridiculous, like absolutely no way,’ but they’re the results, and you have to deal with that,” said Hearn.

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Last Updated on 08/09/2023