The sport of Boxing is still buzzing over Tyson Fury’s dominant performance two weeks ago in stopping previously undefeated longtime WBC Heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder in their highly anticipated rematch to become a two-time world champion. While the focus of the Heavyweight division will very much remain on Fury and Wilder, who will meet for a third time later this year in a contractually mandated third fight, as well as current unified IBF/WBA/WBO/IBO world champion Anthony Joshua’s upcoming title defense in June against current IBF number one Heavyweight contender Kubrat Pulev, there are several contenders in the division that are looking to maneuver themselves into position to challenge for either portion of the World Heavyweight championship down the line.
Two such contenders will square off on Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY as undefeated WBC number six, WBA number four rated contender Adam Kownacki will square off with former European Heavyweight champion Robert Helenius in a bout scheduled for twelve rounds. The fight, which will headline a card televised nationally here in the United States by Fox is the latest test for the undefeated Kownacki.
In his last fight, Kownacki scored the twentieth win of his career in scoring a hard-fought twelve round unanimous decision over former multi-time world title challenger Chris Arreola. Kownacki, who has scored knockouts in fifteen of his twenty wins in registering a career knockout percentage of 75%, appears to be on the fringe of possibly being placed in an elimination bout to determine a mandatory challenger in either the World Boxing Council (WBC) or the World Boxing Association (WBA) Heavyweight ratings.
Before those possibilities can be discussed, Kownacki must contend with former European Heavyweight champion Robert Helenius. Helenius was once thought to be a fighter who could dominate the Heavyweight division in the post-Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko era. Helenius however, has dealt with both setbacks as well as a severe injury to his right shoulder, which was thought to be career-threatening several years ago.
Helenius does have the size and skills that could cause trouble for top contenders if he is in shape. There have been times however, where he has also been inconsistent and the question that surrounds this fight in this observer’s mind is which version of Robert Helenius will be standing across the ring from Adam Kownacki. Will this be the fighter that some thought would be the heir apparent to the Heavyweight thrown that for over a decade was dominated by the Klitschko brothers, or will this be the fighter who has looked sluggish and seemingly allows himself to be out worked over the course of a fight?
At thirty-six years old and currently not being rated in the top-ten of any of the five world sanctioning organizations, one could say that this could be Helenius’ last chance in facing a top contender who appears to be on his way up in Adam Kownacki. Helenius has won twenty-nine of his thirty-two wins and will come into the fight having won his last two of his last three fights. If there is an advantage that one could point to for Helenius beyond having an edge in terms of experience, it is the near four-inch height advantage he will have over the 6’3 Kownacki.
In thinking of how this fight could be fought, I feel it is crucial that Helenius establish the tempo of combat from the outset. Kownacki is a fighter that comes forward and brings the fight to his opponents. It is also important to keep in mind that Helenius has been knocked out in two of his three career losses and if he is not on his game in this fight, Kownacki certainly has the punching power to end a fight early if the opportunity arises. Kownacki must not be complacent in this fight however, and should be tactical in his approach.
An encounter between two Heavyweights who may be at different stages in their respective careers. One fighter, who could be in contention for a shot at a World Heavyweight championship in the near future going against a fighter that may not be in the current discussion of top contenders, but could re-enter the picture and the world rankings with a victory in this fight.
As we saw two weeks ago when Tyson Fury surprised many by stopping Deontay Wilder, Boxing is truly a sport where anything can happen. The saying yours truly has said and will continue to say “Anything Can Happen At Any Given Time In The Sport Of Boxing And That Is What Makes Boxing Great.” Is never more evident than when talking about the Heavyweight division. Whether this fight will also produce fireworks remains to be seen.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
Kownacki vs. Helenius takes place on Saturday, March 7th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. The fight can be seen in the United States on Fox beginning at 8PM ET/5PM PT and will also be available on the Fox Sports and FoxNow streaming apps. Check your local listings for time and channel in your area or visit: www.PremierBoxingChampions.com for more information. Check your local listings internationally.
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