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‘We’re going to war’: Joshua vows to ‘raise hell’ in bout vs Helenius

ANTHONY Joshua has declared war against Robert Helenius in their hastily-arranged heavyweight boxing fight tonight at the 02 Arena in London.

Two-time world heavyweight champion Joshua, who has dual Nigerian and British citizenship, is up against the Finn after his original opponent for the fight, Dilian Whyte, failed a dope test.

Helenius stepped in as a late replacement barely a week to tonight’s fight, and Joshua has been tipped to earn a comfortable victory over the 39-year-old.

“I want to do a good job. I block out everyone’s expectations and opinions, just do my job. That’s all that matters,” Joshua told Sky Sports yesterday while previewing the fight.

“We’re going to war, we’re going to fight. This is just another stepping stone to greatness.

“I train hard, which means I can fight hard. There’s always something tempting us, but I think young athletes should focus on the task at hand. I am laser focused on the win.”

As usual with big bouts, boxers do some trash talking and Helenius has done his fair share of riling up Joshua by boasting that he a Viking ready to battle at short notice.

“Have you got a problem with me? Either we’re gonna fight now or we’re gonna fight tomorrow, either way we’re gonna fight,” Joshua said during the heated pre-fight press conference yesterday.

Afterwards, the 33-year-old, who has a pro record of 25 wins and three losses in 28 fights, tweeted: “I apologise God, I got to raise hell.”

Helenius has never challenged for a world title and claimed a third-round technical knockout win over Mika Mielonen in Finland recently following his knockout defeat to Deontay Wilder in October.

The 6ft 6in Helenius, 39, has lost to Gerald Washington, Whyte and Johann Duhaupas, as well as Wilder, in his career.

If Joshua beats Helenius tonight, he will be in line for his long-awaited fight with former WBC champion Wilder, which could happen early next year.

Joshua is undefeated at the O2 Arena in London and won at the venue in April when he beat Jermaine Franklin on points.

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Naija Times