Anthony Joshua fights late-replacement Robert Helenius this weekend, and Boxing Social has three heavyweight picks to form an 18/1 treble.
Joshua-Helenius – AJ Rounds 1-4
Joshua faces another last-minute opponent change after the nightmare that was Andy Ruiz Jr in New York. There are no belts on the line this time around, but the stakes are high in the sense that a loss is, in short, unthinkable.
He wouldn’t comment when asked if he’d be disappointed if he didn’t stop Helenius and said that Deontay Wilder’s first round knockout wasn’t a factor. It’s the right mindset to have but make no mistake, he wants to look good here. Some say he needs to.
‘The Nordic Nightmare’ is big, strong and poses a threat. He’s fighting fit and has everything to gain. There’s no escaping the fact that he can be chinny though, and if Joshua’s work with Derrick James is as impressive as we’ve been hearing, he should get him out of there.
After the losses to Ruiz and Usyk, fighting a taller opponent will be good for him, and it could be reminiscent of some of his best work against the likes of Charles Martin and Dominic Breazeale.
I’m backing rounds 1-4 for AJ to settle quickly into his rhythm and land the shots he needs to finish it, handing Helenius the fourth KO loss of his long career and moving towards a Wilder fight with confidence.
Hrgovic-McKean – Hrgovic Rounds 7-12
One year on from his controversial win over Zhilei Zhang, Filip Hrgovic returns to defend his IBF mandatory challenger status. The man in the opposite corner is unbeaten Australian southpaw, Demsey McKean, who was recently floated as an opponent for both Joshua and Tyson Fury.
‘El Animal’ is who he’s ended up with though, and a motivated one at that. Hrgovic and his bogeyman reputation took a hit with the Zhang decision, and he looks determined to fix that. The perfect answer is to do it against another lefty.
The back and forth between the pair has focused on each other’s records lacking big names. It’s true of both, and probably the most intriguing fight on the card because of the unknown. McKean has an impressive win over Jonathon Rice, but he was losing rounds in that fight before a stoppage in the final 30 seconds.
Hrgovic just looks to have more danger in his fists and the grit you need in the heavyweight division. Although clearly athletic and well-trained, this is McKean’s first time scheduled for 12. I think Hrgovic will get to him late after a closely-fought first half.
Chisora-Washington – Over 6.5 Rounds
The card’s veteran fight sees 39-year-old Derek Chisora against 41-year-old Gerald Washington. Both primes are well in the rear-view mirror and there are punishing losses between them.
It’s a fight that’s hard to predict since we don’t know how well Chisora has responded to the Tyson Fury loss last year or how motivated he is. In the other corner, just how much work has Washington been putting in since his stoppage loss eighteen months ago? Prior to that was a two-year lay off.
Chisora may well blast the American out of there in his beloved O2 Arena, but I’m playing it safer and just picking it to go over halfway.