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Robert Helenius Steps In to Face Anthony Joshua



Anthony Joshua will face Robert Helenius in a 12-round main event at The O2 in London this Saturday August 12, shown exclusively live worldwide on DAZN – with fans now able to view as part of their regular subscription.

This follows the news that the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) informed Matchroom, the Association of Boxing Commissions and the British Boxing Board of Control that Joshua’s original opponent Dillian Whyte had returned adverse analytical findings as part of a random anti-doping protocol. As a result, their fight was immediately cancelled with a full investigation underway.

Saturday’s sold-out event will now be available to watch worldwide on DAZN via the usual subscription service. Fans will be able to claim a refund directly for any pay-per-view pre-orders they had made via DAZN.

On a huge night of Heavyweight action in the Capital, IBF Mandatory World Title challenger Filip Hrgovic (15-0, 12 KOs) clashes with Australia’s undefeated contender Demsey McKean (22-0, 14 KOs) for a shot at Ukraine’s unified World Champion Oleksandr Usyk, two-time World Title challenger and fan favourite Derek Chisora (33-12, 23 KOs) returns to the scene of so many of his famous wins to take on America’s Gerald Washington (20-5-1, 13 KOs) over ten rounds and Romford sensation Johnny Fisher (9-0, 8 KOs) has the opportunity to land his first belt when he faces off with Torquay's Harry Armstrong (5-1-1) for the vacant Southern Area Title.

Elsewhere on the card, Hyde Super-Lightweight Campbell Hatton (12-0, 5 KOs) takes on Hitchen's Tom Ansell (10-4, 2 KOs) over eight rounds, Billericay Middleweight prospect George Liddard (3-0, 3 KOs) goes for another knockout against Bas Oosterweghel (5-1, 3 KOs), Wales Featherweight talent Brandon Scott (5-0, 1 KO) makes his Matchroom debut against Shepshed’s Louis Norman (14-13-1, 2 KOs) and Eltham Super-Flyweight Maiseyrose Courtney (3-0) faces her toughest test against Bournemouth’s Gemma Ruegg (7-7, 1 KO).

“This wasn’t in the script," said Joshua. "I respect Helenius and may I say, I respect any male or female who steps into the ring. 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. May the best man win.”

"I am excited about fighting Anthony Joshua on August 12," said Helenius. "I am a true Viking that is willing to face any challenge at a moment's notice. This is not an opportunity I was going to let slip away. I plan to make the most of it!"

Matchroom Sport chairman Eddie Hearn said: “To get the news on Saturday was really disappointing, not only for us but for Anthony Joshua and for the fans. But we got to work and we have done what we’re good at – and we have managed to keep the show on. AJ has been unbelievable throughout this whole process. He is someone who is ready to fight having trained for 12 weeks in Dallas with Derrick James. He has always been a great pro but this just shows me again the hunger he has for the sport. He wants to go out there this Saturday in front of a sold-out crowd at The O2 and perform. There were a lot of options. But we had to make sure it was the right fight for the right deal. I think Robert Helenius is a good fight. Yes, he lost to Deontay Wilder but that was by a shot that would have probably knocked out a horse! But he came to fight. He can really punch, he’s 6ft 8in and he won at the weekend. Ultimately there is criticism in whatever you do, but I actually think this is a tricky and dangerous fight."

Alfie Sharman VP DAZN said: “DAZN were incredibly disappointed about the cancellation of our original main event on Saturday and are extremely appreciative of the efforts by all involved to get this new fight across the line. Robert has been in with some of the best in the division, and this will be another hard night for Anthony Joshua. Tune in live and exclusive on DAZN."

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