Nordic Nightmare or Fantasy? Odds of a Robert Helenius Upset Over Anthony Joshua at 02 Arena This Weekend in London

By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent

London, UK (August 9th, 2023)–  The news is now official. Outspoken heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte, who did not pass his latest random VADA Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency drug test though he denies the finding, has been replaced by ‘The Nordic Nightmare, Robert Helenius, 32-4 with 21 knockouts, Mariehamn, Finland, as the co-main event 12 round opponent for Anthony ‘AJ’ Joshua at 02 Arena in Greenwich, London, United Kingdom, on Saturday night, August 12, 2023, rescuing a major 2023 pay-per-view and ticket sales boxing event.

 Joshua, 25-3 with 22 knockouts, Watford, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, probably did not expect anybody to accept a late challenge to replace Whyte on the eight bout 02 Arena, featuring unbeaten rising heavyweights 15-0 Felip Hrgovic and 22-0 Demsey McKean ina world heavyweight title 12 round eliminator bout for a shot at Oleksandr Usyk, currently preparing for a titular defense against Daniel Dubois. Heavyweight veterans Dereck Chisora and Gerald Washington are scheduled to face each other in a scheduled 10 rounder in the other heavyweight bout on the 02 Arena card.

 Helenius, age 39, scored a comeback third round stoppage over 6-0 Mike Melonen, age 41, on Saturday, August 5, 2023, at Opera stage in Savolinna, Finland. Helenius did not work up much of a sweat, and feels prepared to take Joshua out. Helenius has been a remarkable hot and cold fighter at different points in his career, and a lot depends on which version of Robert Helenius shows up. If the version of Robert Helenius shows up who beat Adam Kownacki twice, Joshua could be in trouble.

 Helenius has chosen to go for broke as his career winds down and swing away against Joshua, whose chin proved to be less than granite in his first world title matchup against Andy Ruiz Jr., who dropped Joshua several times and stopped him. Oleksandr Usyk, a blown up cruiserweight, outpointed Joshua twice. Joshua will try to outpoint Helenius, who is unlikely to fight a fight to go the distance. Helenius will go bombs away with Joshua, and believe it or not, either man has an even chance of getting knocked out by this reporter. Joshua versus Helenius is simply a matter of who gets off first.

 Joshua may try to outbox Helenius and not take unnecessary risks, while Helenius will put it all on the table. Joshua will have to knock Helenius out, but Joshua could get taken on a road to hell before Helenius gets counted out. How well prepared Helenius is coming in remains a question mark, but he could have won his bout several days ago if he was not prepared. So, expect a good battle for four to eight rounds for as long as it lasts, before Joshua scores the stoppage. Or, if Helenius refuses to go, the final tenth round could lead to the ultimate slugfest.

 Presently, Joshua is a 1/12 favorite to win on Oddschecker in the UK. The odds of a draw are 33 to 1. If you bet Helenius to win, the odds are 12 to 1 against you. The odds on this bout at Draft Kings continue to shift. The fluctuating odds have to do with the particular outcome, as to whether or not Joshua will take out or stop Helenius in a particular round. Helenius, who did not last one round against Deontay Wilder, should do better here. This is a must win by Anthony Joshua, and fans might get treated to an unexpected thriller if Joshua is unable to take Helenius out, which might be the case. Helenius is a heavy hitter. His stamina to go 10 rounds with Joshua is the biggest question, as well as whether or not Joshua’s glass chin can survive another heavy hitter.

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