Carl Froch tears apart Anthony Joshua’s ‘beginner’ performance against Robert Helenius

Froch also took aim at Conor McGregor, who interacted with ‘AJ’ at ringside after the Briton’s victory

Alex Pattle
Combat Sports Correspondent
Friday 18 August 2023 16:45 BST
Anthony Joshua shares ringside footage of brutal Robert Helenius knockout

Carl Froch has delivered a brutal assessment of Anthony Joshua’s performance against Robert Helenius, accusing the British heavyweight of fighting like a ‘beginner’.

Joshua knocked out Helenius, a late-notice replacement for Dillian Whyte, in Round 7 on Saturday (12 August) after fighting tentatively in the first six rounds.

Despite “AJ” securing the emphatic knockout that he needed en route to a potential clash with Deontay Wilder, the former two-time world heavyweight champion did not do enough to impress Froch.

Froch, a former unified super-middleweight champion, said on YouTube on Friday (18 August): “For me, it was a 5/10 performance. Okay, he got the job done, he knocked out Helenius in Round 7 with a decent [shot]. Helenius was exhausted by that point, which is why I thought the knockout came.

“AJ timed him nicely with a jab to the body then brought the right hand over the top [...] I don’t think [Helenius] was knocked out cold, but he was exhausted. Once he got hit with that shot and went over, he probably thought to himself: ‘You know what? I’ve earnt my money, I’m not gonna win the fight, I’m not getting paid for overtime. Let’s stay down and go home.’ Why wouldn’t he? He boxed a week earlier.

“It was poor, it was a weak opponent for this stage of AJ’s career, when he’s now looking at fighting someone like Deontay Wilder. If he’s looking at fighting Deontay Wilder on the back of that performance... that performance was awful, it was terrible, it was such a bad performance in so many ways. It was tentative, it was gun shy.”

Helenius replaced Whyte after the Briton failed a drug test in the lead-up to his planned rematch with Joshua, who is in talks to box Wilder in early 2024.

“He looked like he didn’t want to be in there at times,” Froch said of Joshua, 33. “He was getting outboxed with a weak, poor jab; [Helenius] wasn’t setting it up, he was smashing it, ram-rodding it in AJ’s face [...] Anthony Joshua was sitting back, waiting, looking confused, looking like he was scared to throw.

“He’s not ready for the Deontay Wilder fight, I really don’t think he is. That performance does not set him up for a big showdown with Wilder [...] Style-wise, AJ is like a beginner, like a novice pro. Helenius had absolutely busted up AJ behind the jab.

Joshua stopped Helenius with a right hand in Round 7 at London’s O2 Arena

“[There was] swelling under his eyes, his nose was p***ing with blood, his mouth was bleeding – as we saw when he jumped out of the ring, which was a bit strange, and had a slurp on that nasty Irish stout that Conor McGregor shoved in his face. He had all blood and sweat and snot inside that point.”

Froch, 46, also branded his fellow Briton “unprofessional” and “disrespectful” for the interaction with UFC star McGregor, which took place at ringside while Helenius received medical attention.

Joshua vs Wilder is in the works for an early 2024 date in Saudi Arabia. American Wilder, 37, has not fought since knocking out Helenius in Round 1 in October.

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