Anthony Joshua replacement opponent confirmed to be Robert Helenius, who was KO’d by Deontay Wilder in first round, after Dillian Whyte drugs test cancellation

Anthony Joshua will still fight on Saturday night, despite his rematch with Dillian Whyte being cancelled.

AJ is now set to face Robert Helenius at the O2 Arena, live on talkSPORT, this weekend after a last-minute deal was agreed to save the show.

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The show will go on for Anthony Joshua, live on talkSPORT on Saturday nightCredit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom
Helenius returned with a win last weekend

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Helenius returned with a win last weekendCredit: Sean Michael Ham/TGB

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“This wasn’t in the script,” Joshua said of his new opponent. “I am laser focused on the win.”

Meanwhile, 39-year-old veteran Helenius said: “I am a true Viking that is willing to face any challenge at a moment’s notice.

“This is not an opportunity I was going to let slip away. I plan to make the most of it.”

On Saturday, it was revealed that a Whyte drugs test result had led to his rematch with AJ being cancelled.

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Anthony Joshua vs Dillian Whyte rematch CANCELLED due to Whyte drugs test

A statement Eddie Hearn’s promotional company Matchroom read: “Today, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) informed Matchroom, the Association of Boxing Commissions and the British Boxing Board of Control that Dillian Whyte had returned adverse analytical findings as part of a random anti-doping protocol.
 
“In light of this news, the fight will be cancelled, and a full investigation will be conducted. Further information on the event will follow.”

In a statement, Whyte pleaded his innocence.

Whyte said: “I am shocked and devastated to learn of a report by VADA of adverse findings relating to me.

His last fight before that was a KO1 loss to Deontay Wilder in 2022

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His last fight before that was a KO1 loss to Deontay Wilder in 2022Credit: Getty

“I only learned of it this morning and am still reacting to it.

“I have also just seen that the fight is being cancelled without having any chance to demonstrate my innocence before the decision was taken.

“I can confirm without a shadow of doubt that I have not taken the reported substance, in this camp or at any point in my life.

“I am completely innocent and ask to be given the time to go through the process of proving this without anybody jumping to conclusions or by trial by media.

“I insisted on 24/7 VADA testing for this fight, as I have done voluntarily and at my own expense for all of my fights for many, many years.

“This is not the first time that I have been reported as having an adverse finding for a substance which I have not taken, and as I did last time, I will again prove that I am completely innocent.

“In the meantime, all I can do is express my extreme disappointment to boxing fans, who will miss out on what was sure to be a great event.”

Regardless, Whyte was removed from the main event and Helenius has been brought in on just four days’ notice.

The 39-year-old Finnish veteran has previously lost to Dillian Whyte and Deontay Wilder, with the American KOing him in one round last year.

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Despite contemplating retirement, Helenius returned to the ring last weekend in his home country and stopped Mika Mielonen in three rounds.

As a result, he has now been drafted in to fight Joshua at the last minute and will be expected to lost comfortably in order to set AJ up for a Wilder showdown of his own in January in Saudi Arabia.

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