It seemed like a good idea at first. Robert Helenius was minding his business on the other side of the world attempting to regain his confidence. A brutal first-round knockout at the hands of Deontay Wilder forced him to rethink a few things.
Mika Mielonen gave the 39-year-old the exact sort of pick-me-up that he needed. His third-round knockout win was essentially what the doctor ordered. But while it appeared as though no one was paying attention to his comeback fight, promoter Eddie Hearn immediately gave him a ring.
With Dillian Whyte being flagged by VADA for an adverse finding and subsequently pulled from his showdown against Anthony Joshua, Hearn needed to find a replacement...in stepped Helenius.
The 6’6” heavyweight journeyman seemed like the right type of opponent. Recognizable on paper but tenuous enough in the ring for Joshua to look good against - mission accomplished.
All along, Helenius (32-5, 21 KOs) never complained once. He believed that he was in fighting shape and had the sort of style that could give the former unified champ major problems. Seven rounds later, however, Helenius was proven wrong.
On the night, it took the hulking heavyweight from Britain more time than usual to find his rhythm. Once he did, nevertheless, Joshua laid his man out. Now, with the Swedish native having the opportunity to evaluate what went wrong, he recently concluded that he simply didn’t have enough time to get the job done.
“What could I do with that short notice?” Questioned Helenius during an interview with Fight Hub TV. “I think I would have done better with a better training camp behind me.”
Hearn, once he made the announcement that Helenius was stepping in, went on and on about the sort of shape he was in. Helenius jumped onto the scales one day prior to facing Joshua and seemed as confident as ever.
Ultimately, he admits that he was far from ready to face someone of Joshua’s caliber. Although he did fight just a week before, the training camp he put himself through was far from one of his best considering who he ended up fighting one week later.
“We had an ok camp but the opponent in Finland wasn’t like on any world stage or in the vicinity of Anthony Joshua so we didn’t train for 12 rounds of hardcore boxing. We took that fight just to see if I have the motivation to keep on training and doing this as a job.”