Anthony Joshua blank out Robert Helenius in the seventh round at the O2 Arena on Saturday. Helenius had stepped in at short notice to fight former heavyweight champion Joshua after original opponent Dillian Whyte was pulled out from the show for returning an adverse anti-doping finding
Helenius surprised everyone when he took Joshua into the second half of their contest but then with a single shot, a huge right cross to the jaw, AJ extinguished his efforts, dropping him heavily at 1-27 of the seventh round.
After being knocked out in the first round by Deontay Wilder, Helenius was seizing an opportunity to return to action at the top tier of the heavyweight division. He began with spirit too, rushing out in the first round to cuff punches at Joshua’s guard.
Joshua, a former unified champion, is determined to reclaim a title and for him Helenius was just another step on the road back.
He was patient, he softened Helenius up with the occasional combination and then delivered a brutal ending.
By the second round Joshua was taking control. He lunged in with a left hook to catch Helenius. His jab thumped into the body but he wouldn’t rush himself.
Joshua answered that call though and launched a right cross flush into Helenius’ jaw. It connected and a cursory glance at Helenius showed it was a hurtful punch.
His jab flicked out, distracting Helenius and the right carved a path through to hit the Finn cleanly to the jaw.
The blasting shot dropped him heavily, ending the contest at once.
The result, and the manner of the finish, clearly delighted Joshua. He even left the ring to celebrate before returning to have his hand formally raised by the referee.
He took his time but eventually Joshua got exactly the ending he wanted.