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.
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 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.
“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."