As a result of Dillian Whyte’s failed drug test, former heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (25-3, 22 KOs) is now set to take on Finland’s Robert Helenius (32-4, 21 KOs) on the August 12 Matchroom Boxing card. The announcement was made official across social media and promoter Eddie Hearn has also confirmed the opponent switch. Originally, Saturday night’s event was to be distributed by DAZN as a pay-per-view (PPV). Now, however, there is confirmation that the event will be available around the world as part of the DAZN subscription.
Big Fight Weekend had previously reported on Whyte’s failed VADA test. Previously, he failed a test ahead of his 2019 bout with Oscar Rivas. Despite that failed test, the fight went ahead without informing Rivas or his team of the result. In 2012, Whyte also tested positive for a banned substance and received a two-year suspension following his ninth professional boxing bout. Despite this history of failed tests, he has been allowed to continue his career and was set to face Joshua on August 12. Now, that is no longer the case.
Joshua vs. Helenius
The new headliner for Saturday night pits two experienced heavyweights against each, although they are at very different stages of their respective careers. For many years, Helenius was considered a potential contender for the heavyweight championship. Unfortunately for him, injuries and a set of disappointing performances to Derek Chisora (a disputed win) and Johann Duhaupas (a surprise KO loss) meant he never met expectations set of him. A 2019 KO loss to Gerald Washingtonappeared to signal the end to his time in boxing. However, he breathed new life into his career with a fourth round TKO win over fringe contender Adam Kownacki in 2020. He repeated the feat again in 2021, this time stopping Kownacki in six.
In 2022, he was selected to face former world champion Deontay Wilder. That fight ended very quickly for Helenius as he was stopped just before the end of round one. He contemplated retirement following the bout but returned this year on August 5 in his native Finland. In his return, he knocked out fellow Finnish heavyweight Mika Mielonen in three. On seven days on from that bout, he now faces Joshua.
On the other hand, Joshua was heavyweight champion as recently as September 2021. After back-to-back losses to now unified titlist Oleksandr Usyk, he is now on the comeback trail. Earlier this year, he returned to the win column with a unanimous decision victory over Jermaine Franklin. Previously set to rematch Whyte in his second fight of the year, he now faces Helenius on short notice.
“This wasn’t in the script,” said Joshua. “I am laser focused on the win. I can make steps forward to bigger and better things but the road map has a check point, Saturday night.”