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Key questions ahead of the Anthony Joshua v Robert Helenius fight

Robert Helenius has stepped in at the last minute to ensure Anthony Joshua will fight at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday.

Robert Helenius answered an SOS call from Matchroom after Anthony Joshua's original opponent Dillian Whyte failed a doping test and a new opponent was required on short notice.

While Whyte has vowed to clear his name and prove his innocence, all eyes are now on Helenius and here, we take a look at the backstory of the 39-year-old, who was once tipped to be the next big contender in the sport.

Who is Robert Helenius?

Born in Stockholm in 1984, the heavyweight holds dual-nationality with Sweden and Finland and forged an impressive amateur career, winning a silver medal at the 2006 European Championships.
He turned professional two years later and quickly set about building on his growing reputation with Welsh boxer Scott Gammer stopped before former world heavyweight champions Lamon Brewster, Samuel Peter and Siarhei Liakhovich were defeated.

How does he fare versus Brits?

Helenius' wins over Brewster, Peter and Liakhovich set up an eagerly-anticipated bout with Derek Chisora for the vacant European Championship title at the end of 2011 in Finland. A dominant display from Chisora followed with more punches thrown, but in highly-contentious fashion, it was Helenius who won by a split decision verdict.
It was later revealed Helenius suffered a minor fracture to his right arm in the first round but it failed to keep critics at bay with ex-boxing trainer Freddie Roach at the time laughing off claims he could take on Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko.

No stranger to a last-minute call?

While Helenius' victory over Chisora extended his unbeaten record to 17 fights, he spent 11 months out of the ring while he recovered from an arm injury and soon after endured two years of inactivity due to a contract dispute with his former promoters.
A first loss to Johann Duhaupas further stalled his development before he accepted a fight with Whyte at 12-days notice in 2017. Helenius was able to go the distance with the British boxer on the undercard of Joshua's fight with Carlos Takam in Cardiff, but lost on points.

Can he pull off a huge shock?

Stockholm-born Helenius was able to rebuild his career after defeat to Whyte with two victories over Yury Bykhautsou before Gerald Washington inflicted a third loss. He fought on the undercard of Deontay Wilder's second bout with Tyson Fury at the T-Mobile Arena in 2021 and stepped in the ring himself with Wilder last October.
It was Wilder's comeback bout and did not last three minutes with the American handed a vicious first-round knock-out. Helenius bounced back with victory over Mika Mielonen in a Finland Castle last weekend but there appears a slim chance he can upset Joshua. Although, remember Andy Ruiz Jr?
READ MORE: Robert Helenius steps in to replace Dillian Whyte in Anthony Joshua fight on Saturday

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