Anthony Joshua will attempt to ignore hypothesis and comparisons with Deontay Wilder when he steps into the ring to face Robert Helenius at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday.
Helenius was solely drafted in on the eleventh hour when authentic opponent Dillian Whyte failed a medication take a look at with the Voluntary Anti-Doping Assocation (VADA), however it has added additional intrigue with Wilder’s shadow looming over the Briton.
The speak surrounding Joshua, like for a lot of of his latest fights, is about what subsequent and talks between his camp and Wilder’s group proceed over a proposed conflict on the finish of this yr or at first of 2024.
An eagerly-anticipated future bout between two former world heavyweight champions will solely occur if Joshua shuts out the noise to do the enterprise towards Helenius, who suffered a first-round knock-out to Wilder in October.
“I have to ignore it. It is one step at a time,” Joshua insisted when requested about ex-WBC belt holder Wilder.
“When I fought Jason Gavern, I knocked him out, Wilder took longer. When I fought Eric Molina, I knocked him out in three and Wilder took nine rounds.
“There will always be comparisons. This is my own fight with Helenius, no-one else’s. I can’t fail.”
Joshua repeated the identical sentiments earlier than a laboured show on his solution to a unanimous factors victory towards Jermaine Franklin in April, which bought the Finchley boxer again on the comeback path, however his preparation for this twenty ninth contest of his profession has been removed from supreme.
Last weekend, Joshua educated figuring out it may all be for nothing after he found on Saturday morning that Whyte had been pulled from the present however Friday’s fiery weigh-in change with Helenius confirmed he’s locked in.
Joshua tipped the scales at 17st and 12lbs, whereas Helenius was a pound lighter, earlier than the duo exchanged phrases – with the British heavyweight inviting his veteran opponent to combat there after which as a substitute of 24 hours later if he wished.
Joshua admitted: “There was one session where I was like, ‘what are we training for?’ We trained on Saturday and maybe then I felt what am I training for, but we just had to flip the coin.
“I could spend more time complaining about it, due to this late replacement whoever it might be, but I couldn’t put my energy into complaining. I had to change the script.”
Joshua, who reached the top of the game with a victory over Wladimir Klitschko at a sold-out Wembley in 2017, nonetheless believes he can grow to be world champion once more however Helenius, who must be on a household vacation in Lapland after he beat Mika Mielonen inside a Fifteenth-century fort in Finland final weekend, has different concepts.
Helenius added: “I can’t compare him to Wilder. I have also been sparring before with David Haye, I have been sparring the Klitschkos, both of them, I have been sparring Tyson Fury, Wilder.
“I have even been sparring Joshua when he was going against Klitschko so I have been a long time in this game.
“He is a tough guy. I think we went eight-round sessions. It was pretty close. Hard-hitter, good technicals, a little bit robotic but his last fight, he made a good fight against Jermaine.
“I haven’t been in the ring for a while with him but now is the best time to win.
“Nobody will remember a coward.”