Joshua KOs Helenius with One Punch After Seven Rounds of Tedium


By Arne K. Lang

With one punch, Anthony Joshua salvaged a dismal card at the O2 Arena in London.

The first seven rounds were tedious. Joshua was reluctant to let his hands go and Helenius never threw a meaningful punch until the fifth round. A chorus of boos rained down on the ring as early as round three..The fact that there were few fireworks in the two preceding bouts fed the disgruntlement of the crowd.

It was an overhand right that brought the bout to a sudden conclusion. Helenius, who took the fight on five days’ notice, was out cold before he hit the canvas and the referee signaled it was over before starting a count. It was a Wilder-style knockout that creates more interest in a bout between Joshua and Deontay. That match is expected to come to fruition in January.

The 33-year-old Joshua, who improved to 29-3 (23 KOs) was making his second start with his U.S. trainer Derrick James and was coming of a lackluster win over Jermaine Franklin. Finland’s Helenius (32-5) had sparred with Joshua before Joshua’s epic battle with Wladimir Klitschko in 2019 and told reporters that he found Joshua to be robotic. Tonight, the “robot” recovered his mojo with a lightning bolt that came out of the blue. The official time was 1:27 of round eight.


The 10-round match between Derek Chisora, a 39-year-old Zimbabwe-born Londoner, and California’s 41-year-old Gerald Washington, a Navy vet and former USC defensive end, was a predictably dull affair. Chisora, who was stopped in 10 rounds by Tyson Fury in his last start and lost a split decision to Robert Helenius in 2011, won by scores of 98-93, 97-94, and 96-94, advancing his record to 34-13 (23). Coming in, Washington (20-7-1) had lost five of his last seven with all five defeats the nature of “TKO by”. Tonight, he lasted the distance and won a few rounds, but did nothing to contradict the notion that it’s time for him to retire.


Filip Hrgovic advanced to 16-0 (13) with a 12th-round stoppage of Australia’s previously undefeated Demsey McKean (22-1). Although the six-foot-six Croatian maintained his placement at the head of the line for the winner of Usyk-Duboiis later this month, he wasn’t impressive. The pace slowed in the middle rounds with both fighters looking fatigued and McKean was guilty of a lot of holding.

In the final round, a huge right hand sent McKean into the ropes. The Australian southpaw managed to stay on his feet, but the ensuing barrage from Hrgovic forced the referee to waive it off.

Other Bouts of Note:

Johnny Fisher, a 24-year-old heavyweight with a cult following, improved to 10-0 (9 KOs) with a seventh-round stoppage of spunky Harry Armstrong (5-2-1). The Romford Bull put Armstrong on the canvas 12 seconds into the fight, but “Dirty Harry’ managed to last into the seventh before Fisher could finish the job.

In an 8-rounder contested at 140 pounds, Campbell Hatton improved to 13-0 (5) at the expense of Tom Ansell (10-5). The referee’s scorecard read 78-74.

Hatton, 22, is the son of British boxing hero Ricky Hatton. Ansell has lost four of his last five.

Photo credit: Mark Robinson / Matchroom