BN Preview: Anthony Joshua gets a new opponent but the fight itself becomes a no-win situation

TRAINER Derrick James looked dejected as he waited for his baggage at Heathrow Airport. His boxer, Errol Spence, had recently suffered his first loss against Terence Crawford, and James couldn’t help but reflect on the concept of baggage. He had arrived in London to train Anthony Joshua, hoping for a fresh start after being consumed by the Spence vs. Crawford bout. However, the news that Joshua’s opponent, Dillian Whyte, had failed a drug test threw James’s plans into uncertainty once again. Joshua’s new opponent, Robert Helenius, was not considered a worthy challenger, and other heavyweights on the undercard were also lackluster. Gerald Washington, in particular, had a poor record and had been approved as a safe opponent for another fighter. Despite his recent losses, Derek Chisora would have been Joshua’s opponent if it weren’t for concerns about his well-being following his last fight. The replacement fight between Joshua and Helenius lacked excitement, as Helenius had previously been knocked out by Deontay Wilder and showed a lack of punch resistance. However, Helenius’s recent wins and stature as a tall and powerful fighter meant he could pose a challenge to Joshua for a couple of rounds. Joshua himself faced uncertainty as he adapted to a different opponent and dealt with the drama of the last few days. Yet, despite doubts about his future in boxing, Joshua, at 33, was far from retirement.

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