Anthony Joshua Scores KO Win Against Robert Helenius (Highlights)

Anthony Joshua's explosive finish sets the stage for Deontay Wilder showdown.

Anthony Joshua Ko Robert Helenius
Anthony Joshua Ko Robert Helenius - Image credit @DAZNBoxing

Anthony Joshua delivers a devastating knockout to Robert Helenius.

The bright side for Anthony Joshua is that he emerged victorious, and what’s even better, he secured a knockout win for the first time in nearly three years. That’s definitely a reason to rejoice.

Joshua, the former unified heavyweight champion, hasn’t quite displayed the dominant prowess he used to possess for a while now. While he didn’t exactly channel the likes of Lennox Lewis this past Saturday at the O2 Arena in London, he managed to clinch a win without encountering significant challenges, sealing the deal with a seventh-round knockout.

Joshua appeared quite cautious and somewhat jittery in the ring, opting for a rather conservative approach against Robert Helenius. Helenius, a last-minute stand-in after Dillian Whyte’s unfortunate anti-doping test, took the fight on short notice and was ready to go, having fought just a week prior in Finland.

Given his recent activity, he was given the green light.

While Joshua did secure a victory, his performance didn’t exactly scream readiness for a match against Deontay Wilder.

There was a time when both fighters held heavyweight titles and were undefeated; back then, a showdown between them was considered a pretty even match-up, maybe even tilting slightly in Joshua’s favor. But times have changed, and now Wilder seems to be on a different level altogether compared to Joshua. It’s safe to say that the current version of Joshua we saw on Saturday wouldn’t stand a chance against Wilder.

Now, I know it’s not entirely fair to draw direct comparisons between fights, but it’s worth mentioning that Wilder faced Helenius last year and swiftly finished him with a massive shot in the first round. In contrast, Joshua’s performance made Helenius seem like a legitimate contender, rather than the clear B-side that he was.

Helenius might give some opponents a bit of trouble, but definitely not those with the last names like Fury, Joshua, Wilder, Usyk, or Ruiz. He lacks speed, isn’t too agile, and his punching power isn’t really formidable.

On the flip side, Wilder is a different story. He’s lightning-fast with his hands, and while his footwork isn’t exactly Mayweather-esque, he can quickly position himself to land those powerful punches that have made him one of the division’s all-time hardest hitters.

Trainer Derrick James is working to rebuild Joshua’s confidence and strengthen his fundamental skills. Now, you should never bet against James, a top-tier trainer in the boxing world, but let’s face it, Joshua is still developing, and he’s got some vulnerabilities that Wilder is likely to capitalize on without much trouble.

Promoter Eddie Hearn had words of praise for Joshua after the fight, but it seemed like he was also trying to boost his star heavyweight’s spirits. He mentioned that Joshua and his team had a three-step plan: Helenius first, then Wilder, and eventually a shot at Tyson Fury, the reigning WBC heavyweight champion.

The initial goal was achieved, but let’s be real, reaching a fight with Fury, let alone snatching a victory, is going to be a seriously tough challenge.

Now, Joshua did seem more self-assured than we’ve witnessed in some time, at least post-fight. But during the bout, he appeared rather rigid and careful, especially in the early rounds, and he definitely didn’t resemble the Joshua we knew back in 2016-17.

Once the fight wrapped up, he went for a celebratory lap, even got handed a beer by UFC’s Conor McGregor. And though he wasn’t exactly in the mood to give a lengthy interview on the mic, he did throw in a few jokes.

Then he pulled the classic move of asking for a doctor, which kind of had some of his ringside supporters holding their breath. But it was all part of his swagger, his way of showing he’s up for a Wilder showdown, or at least trying to convey that confidence.

The heavyweight division is really heating up, and it would definitely get even more exciting if Joshua can recapture his old glory. He’s just 33, still packing a serious punch and showing his athleticism.

But right now, his overall performance isn’t quite adding up to the potential he has. There’s a bit of a robotic vibe, and he seems to hesitate in the ring. And when you’re facing speedy, quick-reacting fighters like Wilder, that hesitation can cost you big time.

Published on August 12, 2023 at 9:16 pm
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