Anthony Joshua flattened Robert Helenius in the seventh round of their London bout, answering calls from fans and pundits to return to his knockout ways.
The highlight-reel stoppage followed six rounds of relatively tentative action in which Joshua focused on his jab and movement under new coach, Derrick James.
The two-time world champion has received some criticism for how he approached the first half of the fight, even despite Helenius being drafted in on just a week’s notice and presenting a completely different frame and style from the man he replaced, Dillian Whyte.
Speaking to Boxing Social, former cruiserweight champion turned pundit, Johnny Nelson, said that ‘AJ’ must believe in himself more.
“The knockout showed his natural, instinctive power that he has, but up to that point [the fight] showed that he needs to believe in himself one thousand percent. His movement, the target, what he’s capable of doing.
He should be able to assess situations faster than what he has been or is doing, because he still needs to be ‘sure, sure, sure’ before all of a sudden he’s letting those hands go, committing with his feet – and that took him seven rounds.”
As for the result, he believes it was a lose-lose situation for Joshua.
“He’s damned if he did, damned if he didn’t. If he went the distance he’d get slagged off. If he went one round he’d get slagged off. He got the job done. He had to adjust to a fighter that came in last minute.
The last time that happened was when he boxed Andy Ruiz. So he still played it a little safe, and he moves on to bigger and better things.”
Nelson went on to say that the confidence gained from this first stoppage in three years will give ‘AJ’ a massive boost in his next contests.
That looks like Deontay Wilder in Saudi Arabia next January, although some pundits are advising the Brit to take another fight similar to the level of Helenius beforehand.