Win or lose, it’s a beautiful thing when an aging, hungry boxer who has paid his dues but suffered some setbacks gets an opportunity to change his career – and ultimately his life’s direction – overnight (literally).
Anthony Joshua is set to face Robert Helenius on Saturday night at London’s O2 Arena in a last-minute change of opponent. Originally, Joshua was scheduled to fight his longtime rival Dillian Whyte, with whom he had a thrilling bout eight years ago. The two fighters had previously clashed both as amateurs and professionals.
However, the fight against Whyte was called off after he tested positive for banned substances, leading to an abrupt cancellation of the match. In response, Joshua’s team had to quickly find a replacement opponent to salvage the event.
The replacement opponent is Robert Helenius, who stepped up to the challenge. Just days prior, Helenius had won against fellow countryman Mika Mielonen in a comeback fight held in a 15th-century castle on an island in Finland.
The 39-year-old ‘Nordic Nightmare’ is a two-time European champion and had previously lost to Whyte in 2017 by points. In addition, Helenius faced a tough defeat in the first round against Deontay Wilder in New York in October of the previous year.
Joshua vs Helenius odds /preview
Obviously, Joshua is a substantial favorite according to bookmakers, with odds of 3/50 (-1700) to win outright. This suggests a high likelihood, around 91%, of Joshua securing the victory. On the other hand, Robert Helenius is the underdog with odds of 9/1 (+900), indicating a 9% chance of an upset victory.
When the betting lines were initially released, Joshua was even more heavily favored at 1/16 (-1700). In contrast, Helenius had less favorable odds of 8/1 (+800). However, these odds have since shifted, with Helenius’ odds shortening by -2/1 (+50), which means that some bettors might be showing more confidence in his potential performance.
In sum, a successful $100 bet on AJ would net just $5.88 while the same successful bet on Helenius would garner $900. And yes, if you have some extra cash, betting on the underdog might be worth it.
Anthony Joshua vs Robert Helenius
12 Rounds, Heavyweights
August 12, 2023
O2 Arena in Greenwich, United Kingdom
Why do we like the odds?
- Helenius has risen to the occasion twice before to defeat a heavily-favorited opponent (Adam Kownacki)
- The underdog has excellent power in both fists.
- The Finn is a seasoned veteran of 15 years and 36 fights
- Although it was a while back, Helenius has KO’d the likes of former belt holders Lamon Brewster, Sam Peter, and Siarhei Liakhovich
- He stands 6’6″ 1/2 with an 80-inch reach and isn’t; ‘t easy to fight from a distance
- Joshua has dropped 3 of his last 5 bouts and hasn’t looked dynamic since his TKO of Alexander Povetkin in Sep 2018
It will be interesting to see how the fight unfolds and whether Robert Helenius can overcome the odds and secure an upset victory against the heavily favored Anthony Joshua.
How often are boxing fans discouraged when they learn a young up-and-coming contender has signed to face a presumed “opponent” instead of a champion or another foe on an upward trajectory?
You know what we mean by “opponents.”
We have all kinds of nicknames for them, from “journeymen” and “stiffs” to “tomato cans” and “professional losers.”
But, let’s not forget when Joshua previously faced a last-minute opponent… He was knocked out by a very underrated Andy Ruiz.
Unfortunately, boxing fans and media don’t give those match-ups enough attention, and we often fail to give the A-side favorite the credit he deserves when he’s victorious because he was supposed to win anyway, right?
But defeating a quality, motivated foe is often easier said than done, even if that opponent is the strong B-side and underdog.
A surging Adam Kownacki (then 20-0, 15 KO), fresh off a fine winning performance on ESPN against Chris Arreola, faced one of those “opponents” in front of many of the former’s adoring fans in Brooklyn and learned that the hard way.
That opponent was Robert Helenius, and Kownacki was knocked out in what was supposed to be showcase for him.
So, there was an immediate rematch and folks expected Kownacki to get his sweet revenge, but he was knocked out again
Those B-side “opponents” fans and media often take for granted can be dangerous foes, as Helenius so viciously reminded us.
And Helenius realized then what he realizes now – A big win over a highly-favored opponent will ignite his boxing career. And in this case, the stakes are exponentially higher against Joshua on Saturday night.
Summary of Joshua vs Helenius odds
We’re not picking an upset, but love the odds and the match-up. And while Helenius, Joshua’s current replacement opponent, isn’t as dangerous as his previous substitute, Andy Ruiz, we acknowledge Helenius’s credentials and insist he’s a live dog.
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