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HomeSportJoshua v Helenius - pros and pundits' predictions

Joshua v Helenius – pros and pundits’ predictions


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Anthony Joshua is unbeaten at the O2 Arena but has not stopped an opponent since 2020Venue: O2 Arena, London Date: Saturday, 12 AugustCoverage: Radio commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live from 22:00 BST; live text coverage on the BBC Sport website & app.Anthony Joshua aims to put a difficult week behind him with a big performance against Robert Helenius on Saturday at London’s O2 Arena.Joshua, 33, was due to fight Dillian Whyte in a long-awaited rematch, but was forced to cancel the fight when it emerged his old rival had failed a voluntary drug test seven days before the bout.Finland’s Helenius has stepped in at less than a week’s notice and is aiming to become the second massive underdog to beat Joshua after replacing another fighter late on.Andy Ruiz knocked Joshua out in 2019, the last time Joshua was forced to draft in an alternative opponent in place of a fighter who tested positive for a banned substance.Helenius, 39, is entering the final stages of a career that has featured four losses and 32 wins. Can he pull off the upset? Or can Joshua rediscover his knockout form with his first stoppage win since 2020?The fight will be broadcast on BBC Radio 5 Live from 22:00 BST, while the BBC Sport website will have a live text commentary page from 21:00 BST, featuring all the build-up and undercard action.Here are predictions form some big names in the world of boxing.Former lightweight world champion Anthony Crolla: “Massively frustrated it’s not AJ-Whyte on Saturday night. It’s hard to take any positives from it other than at least the show is still going on. Fair play to Helenius taking it on a week’s notice. I think AJ establishes the jab and lands a big inside within three rounds.” Heavyweight Frazer Clarke: “The late replacement could cause an issue but Joshua is laser focused and ready to do a job on whoever is put in front of him. I predict it to be a bit cagey in the opening round perhaps but I see Joshua breaking him down in a sixth to eighth round stoppage. There will be a valiant effort from Helenius. He knows what an opportunity this is and he will try to make it awkward in the early going. I can’t wait to be there in person and witness something devastating from Joshua.” Anthony Joshua: British heavyweight says ‘boxing clearly has a doping problem’Former light-middleweight world champion Hannah Rankin: “I’m going with a stoppage for AJ in the second half of the fight. Helenius has an awkward style and heavy hands but I think AJ will find a home for that right hand to get the knockout.”WBO cruiserweight world champion Chris Billam-Smith: “Helenius can be quite tricky and awkward at times. He boxed last weekend but has had very little notice for a big fight. It might take a few rounds but I fancy Joshua to get rid of him in the middle to late rounds. I can’t see Helenius causing AJ many problems at all. Even at this stage of Joshua’s career, he can hopefully show improvements.”Former super-middleweight world champion George Groves: “I predict an Anthony Joshua win. The best scenario is he blasts him away in a minute and a half. The second most ideal scenario is he boxes well, makes no mistake, punch perfect and he gets rid of him in four or five rounds. “The worst case scenario is it goes past six rounds. That’s not what we’re here for. The show was saved to see him blast him out within four rounds. “Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn: “I think AJ will knock him out inside six rounds.”Heavyweight Derek Chisora: “Any fighter can cause anybody problems. Everything is always hard. AJ was prepared to fight Dillian and now his brain’s changing. This is what world champions are made of. He has to adjust. First round, figure him out. Second round, figure him out [some more] and in the third round he’s going to have to knock him out. I want him to do it that quick – I need him to do that it that quick.”I need to inflict pain to win – JoshuaBoxing coach Shane McGuigan: “This is a showcase for Anthony Joshua – knock him out. Dillian Whyte had vulnerabilities. He’s been over and knocked out a few times and Helenius is the same.”Super-middleweight John Ryder: “AJ is going to struggle to find his range early on with Helenius being the taller, bigger man. But I think by round eight AJ will get hold of him and the fight should be over. I think this is potentially a tougher fight than Whyte but I feel AJ will handle it and move on to bigger and better.” British super-lightweight Adam Azim: “Anthony Joshua knocks him out in four rounds.” Former super-featherweight world champion Barry Jones: “There’s always a worry when you have a late replacement who is 6ft 7in and once was a contender. But Helenius isn’t that anymore. “If Joshua can stay positive under the guidance of trainer Derrick James then I think it will be a good fight for Joshua and will be finished within seven rounds.”

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