Boxing legend Henry Armstrong was a 5ft 5in freak of nature… he’d find Helenius doubling up vs Anthony Joshua amusing

10 months ago 120

IF he were still around today, Henry Armstrong would be amused at those concerned about Robert Helenius being asked to fight twice in a week.

Helenius, the bearded 6ft 7in Finn, has stepped in as an ever-so-late substitute for Dillian Whyte — who failed a drug test — to give Anthony Joshua much-needed target practice at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday.

Robert Helenius is set to fight twice in a weekGetty
Anthony Joshua is expected to secure a knock-out win over the Finn[/caption]
The legendary Henry Armstrong once fought five times in 21 days

Last weekend, former European heavyweight champion Helenius took less than three rounds to dispose of fellow countryman Mika Mielonen.

And while it is highly unusual for a boxer to have a couple of fights only seven days apart, in the 1930s it was commonplace.

Armstrong, only 5ft 5in tall, was a freak of nature.

He is the only man to be a world champion at three different weights all at the SAME time.

He held the featherweight, lightweight and welterweight titles — and what Homicide Hank did in a 21-day period in October 1939 is beyond belief.

Criss-crossing America, Armstrong successfully defended his welterweight title no less than five times in five different cities. So what Helenius is being asked to do is really no big deal.

Joshua — fighting in front of a contingent from Saudi Arabia, here to finalise the details of his mega-millions clash with Deontay Wilder in January — is priced at odds of 1-16 and is expected to blast his way to an easy victory.

But we thought the same thing before his last fight against Jermaine Franklin four months ago — before he laboured to a dull points victory.


Joshua knows Helenius has absolutely nothing to lose and he was a decent fighter 12 years ago when he beat Derek Chisora and Sam Peters.

There shouldn’t be the slightest chance of Helenius kicking sand in Joshua’s face and I believe he will have done well if he lasts six or seven rounds.

But when it comes to the heavyweights, I’m always haunted by dismissing Buster Douglas as a total irrelevance before he KO’d Mike Tyson 33 years ago in Tokyo — and he was a 42-1 chance.

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