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Anthony Joshua took care of business on Saturday night with a seventh-round knockout win over Robert Helenius at the O2 Arena in London, England.
Joshua (26-3) did not answer questions about his aggressiveness early in the fight. The first two rounds were relatively quiet with the favorite probing with his jab. Outside of a massive swing with the right in the second round, Joshua didn’t throw much of note while avoiding any offense from Helenius.
The London crowd started getting restless just a few rounds into the bout.
Joshua was content to just throw one punch at a time for the most part, much to the chagrin of fans and analysts alike.
Then, as though Joshua were scrolling X between rounds and reading the criticism, Joshua finally uncorked a right hand that put Helenius on the ground and ended the fight in the seventh round.
The win is Joshua’s second of 2023 as he tries to bounce back from back-to-back losses to Oleksandr Usyk. The former heavyweight champion outclassed Jermaine Franklin en route to a unanimous decision victory in April.
This fight was originally slated to be a rematch with Dillian Whyte. The two were set to run back their British heavyweight championship fight from 2015, however, Whyte was pulled from the matchup due to “adverse analytical findings” as part of a random pre-fight drug test.
The 39-year-old Helenius stepped up on short notice just one week after knocking out Mika Mielonen in just three rounds.
According to promoter Eddie Hearn, Joshua didn’t even really need to take a fight. He already has a time frame for a highly anticipated bout with Deontay Wilder.
“This one is wild because AJ has got the Wilder fight locked in for December,” Hearn told talkSPORT of the Whyte matchup before it was canceled.
There was a time when a Joshua vs. Wilder bout would have been the biggest event in boxing. It has lost some momentum since Wilder lost to Tyson Fury twice and Joshua was upset by Andy Ruiz Jr. before losing to Usyk twice.
Both have now bounced back from those losses. Wilder knocked out Helenius in the first round of their October 2022 bout.
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