IT’S Britain’s first Viking invasion for almost 1 000 years, but ticket refunds are already on offer and the pay-per-view has been cancelled.
Robert Helenius, the Sweden-born Finnish beanpole, has accepted the task of stepping in and fighting Anthony Joshua following Dillian Whyte’s late dope test failure.
With just seven days to save the show, it was always going to be a struggle for promoter Eddie Hearn and 33-year-old AJ’s management team to find a suitable replacement.
And they eventually came up with a bloke who boxed just last weekend on the opera stage of a 15th-century castle.
Helenius was also obliterated inside 40 seconds of his last meaningful fight.
With speculation over a £47 million Saudi Arabia showdown with Deontay Wilder swirling, Joshua was never going to take on a serious challenger.
The fact Matchroom are offering punters their cash back on the O2 sell-out while broadcasters DAZN reduced the showdown from a £26.99 fee to its standard subscription is commendable.
Joshua will also take a massive financial hit after opting to fight when he could have cancelled or delayed the event all together.
That has ensured the young prospects on the undercard — who have trained and boiled down their weights — get paid.
This is horrible luck for Joshua, who lost to Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019 when the Mexican was drafted in as a late replacement for Jarrell Miller, who was flagged for a shopping list of steroids.
Last Wednesday, AJ held a conference call with the British press and over-ran the planned time slot, going in depth on a range of topics and laughing with — and at — some of the press pack.
This week — despite his own squeaky clean doping record after hundreds of tests — he will face a stream of questions about Whyte, Vada, Ukad, B-samples, strict liability and confidentiality agreements.
It has been the same since Conor Benn failed two tests and got his October clash with Chris Eubank Jr cancelled. – Mirror Sport