Promoter Eddie Hearn wants to make sure Anthony Joshua keeps his blinders on this week.

Joshua, the former heavyweight titlist from England, is headed toward an unexpected scrap with Finnish contender Robert Helenius this Saturday at the O2 Arena in London. The match came together amid much brouhaha earlier this week after it was revealed over the weekend that Joshua’s original opponent, Dillian Whyte, had failed a drug test.

Helenius, a 39-year-old veteran, is coming off a breezy stoppage win last weekend, his first since suffering a brutal one-punch knockout in the opening round of his bout with former titlist Deontay Wilder last year.

Joshua (25-3, 22 KOs) and Wilder (43-2-1, 42 KOs) have long been circling each other, but their rivalry has taken on a new dimension this year, with rumors suggesting they are in serious discussions to face each other early next year in Saudi Arabia.

The last thing Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, wants for his charge is to start measuring himself against what Wilder did to Helenius.

“When we were looking at opponents, pre Dillian, the one thing that AJ wasn’t mad about was that, ‘how can you compare the performances,’” Hearn told iFL TV. “But in the end, Wilder can knock anyone out at any moment and the reason he knocked Helenius out very quickly is because Helenius was trying to win the fight. He actually backed him up and tried to throw and walked into a right hand that would’ve knocked a horse out.

“Honestly, you can’t worry about what people think. Ultimately you’ve got to look good. You can’t labor to a victory. But whatever round he stops him in, two, nine, 10, I don’t really care. I just want to win.”

Hearn said he has experienced a bit of deja vu lately. In 2019, Joshua was scheduled to face Jarrell Miller but Miller failed a drug test, which led to his removal from the fight. Of course, Joshua’s replacement, Andy Ruiz, would go on to stage one of the biggest upsets in recent heavyweight history, stopping Joshua in seven rounds in front of a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Hearn stressed that Joshua needed to tune out any talk of Wilder heading into the Helenius match. Joshua is in the midst of rebounding from his two consecutive losses to unified champion Oleksandr Usyk. Joshua returned to his winning ways earlier this spring with a unanimous decision over Jermaine Franklin.

“Don’t forget that four years ago we had another issue where a fighter failed a drug test before a Anthony Joshua fight by the name of Jarrell Miller,” Hearn said. “We sold out Madison Square Garden and we needed a late replacement. We went with Andy Ruiz. In that moment, all week, all people did was talk about the Deontay Wilder fight. We’re in an absolute carbon copy of what happened there this time around. This time it’s obviously Robert Helenius.

“We just got to focus on Saturday. The Wilder fight will come. I actually like Helenius’ preparation for Deontay Wilder but you’ve got to focus on this fight because I promise you, Helenius fancies [the win]. His team [believes with] one punch, ‘we’re gonna make millions if we knock this guy out.’ He’s a big lump, six-foot-nine. AJ’s gotta showcase what he’s been doing in the gym with [trainer] Derrick James.”

Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing