[!(BOXING@FIGHT])* Joshua vs Helenius Boxing Live Free Online TV Coverage 12 August 2023
Anthony Joshua returns to action in the familiar surrounds of London’s O2 Arena tonight, taking on late replacement opponent Robert Helenius. This was supposed to be the second grudge match against long-time rival Dillian Whyte, though that high-profile bout was cancelled last week after Whyte returned “adverse analytical findings” in a random anti-doping test.
That led to Matchroom Boxing having to scramble to find a replacement to salvage the main event, with Nordic Nightmare Helenius, a former two-time European champion, getting the call despite having only fought last weekend in an early stoppage of Mika Mielonen in a castle in his native Finland. That was the 39-year-old’s first outing since being brutally knocked out in the first round by Deontay Wilder last year, with Joshua hoping to make a similar statement here as he prepares to likely meet the Bronze Bomber in a blockbuster showdown next.
There is plenty of heavyweight action to look forward to on tonight’s undercard too, with Filip Hrgovic, Johnny Fisher and Derek Chisora all in action, plus a step up in the young career of Campbell Hatton. Follow Joshua vs Helenius updates live with Standard Sport’s blog below!
A late change of opponent is never easy for a fighter to deal with, as Joshua knows more than most after his shock defeat by Andy Ruiz Jr four years ago in New York.
He also had to work hard to see off the durable Carlos Takam, who was a late replacement for Kubrat Pulev in 2017.
Helenius offers a different challenge to Whyte, with the Finnish heavyweight a significantly taller man, and it would be no surprise if Joshua started the fight in relatively cautious fashion as he adjusts to his new opponent.
That combined with a run of unconvincing displays from Joshua suggests that a repeat of Wilder’s chilling first-round knockout of Helenius is unlikely, even if a similarly explosive performance is needed to boost the confident heading into bigger and more challenging bouts.
Joshua now has another camp with new trainer Derrick James under his belt, so improvements on what he produced against Franklin are expected, and promoter Eddie Hearn has said his man is “the best I’ve seen him physically and mentally”.
Whether proof of that comes tonight remains to be seen, but we’re going for Joshua to gradually break Helenius down after a cagey start to seal a first knockout win for almost three years.
What time is Anthony Joshua vs. Robert Helenius today (ET and PT)?
Joshua vs. Helenius will be on August 12. The main card starts at 7 p.m. local time, which is 2 p.m. ET and 11 a.m. PT.
Both fighters should make their way to the ring at around 10.15 p.m. BST (5.15 p.m. ET, 2.15 p.m. PT), depending on how long the undercard fights last. Here's how that translates to different timezones globally
Full Fight Card
Anthony Joshua vs Robert Helenius
Filip Hrgovic vs Demsey McKean
Johnny Fisher vs Harry Armstrong
Derek Chisora vs Gerald Washington
Campbell Hatton vs Tom Ansell
Maiseyrose Courtney vs Gemma Ruegg
George Liddard vs Bas Oosterweghel
Brandon Scott vs Louis Norman
Anthony Joshua record and bio
Born: October 15, 1989
Reach: 82 inches
Total fights: 28
Record: 25-3 with 22 wins via knockout
MORE: How to bet on combat sports
Robert Helenius record and bio
Born: January 2, 1984
Height: 6-6 ½
Reach: 79 inches
Total fights: 36
Record: 32-4 with 21 wins via knockout
Per Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn, Anthony Joshua is taking a significant pay cut when he faces Robert Helenius instead of Dillian Whyte, who reportedly failed multiple drug tests a few days before they were supposed to clash on August 12. The priority now is to win and style and move on to bigger things.
Joshua vs. Helenius takes place at the O2 Arena in London. The event, initially a DAZN PPV, will now be streamed on regular DAZN worldwide.
We are taking the fight off pay-per-view,” Hearn told talkSPORT. "The financial difference to Joshua in this fight is astounding, but he wants to fight, and in terms of non-pay-per-view cards, I think this is one of the strongest we've ever done. I wasn't sure whether [Joshua] would want to fight, but what I got was someone who was desperate to fight.
Anthony Joshua and Robert Helenius hop into the ring at the O2 Arena in a hastily arranged showdown after AJ's showdown with Dillian Whyte was scrapped.
Whyte returned "an adverse finding" from a doping test at the weekend, leading to the cancellation of their rematch, but Helenius has stepped into the void to save the card and hopefully put on a big display.
AJ's last outing saw him defeat Jermaine Franklin at this same venue, though the underwhelming circumstances of the victory did little to boost his ailing stock.
Remarkably, Helenius last fought on Saturday against fellow Finnish boxer Mika Mielonen. He boasts a solid record across Europe, but has suffered defeats at the hands of Whyte, Gerald Washington and, in his most recent fight before last weekend, Deontay Wilder.
British boxing fans will be keen to see whether AJ in particular can restore some pride to a record that has taken a bruising in recent years. He will hope his two defeats to Oleksandr Usyk won't be his last world title showdowns, though he is running out of time to reverse the decline.