Robert Helenius will step in and fight Anthony Joshua this weekend at the O2 Arena after the British heavyweight’s original opponent Dillian Whyte had “adverse analytical findings” detected in a drugs test.
The organisers of the fight, Matchroom, found a new opponent for Joshua within 72 hours of the fight’s initial cancellation but the new challenger, 39-year-old Helenius, fought only last weekend in Finland.
“This wasn’t in the script,” Joshua said. “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.”
Helenius said: “I am excited about fighting Anthony Joshua.
“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.”
Helenius has a record of 32-4, with 21 knockouts and has beaten Brit Derek Chisora.
Joshua’s record is 25-3 with 22 knockouts.