By John “Gutterdandy” Walker
Finland’s Robert Helenius provided one of heavyweight boxing’s highlights of 2021 when he destroyed the heavily hyped Adam Kownacki for the second time in two fights on the undercard of the final bout in the Fury vs Wilder trilogy in Las Vegas.
“The Nordic Nightmare” had already stopped Kownacki in round four of their first encounter in 2020, in a bout that Kownacki supporters deemed a mistake, one they claimed their man would rectify in a rematch. Helenius (31-3, 20 KOs), however, showed he was truly back in terrifying form, after a long spell of mediocre results following a severe shoulder injury, when he busted up the Polish born fighter in the rematch, breaking his left orbital bone on the way to a sixth round TKO win.
For his efforts, Helenius was presented with a “gold belt” by the WBA.
His second destruction of Kownacki was a truly impressive performance, and now Helenius is waiting to prove himself once again. And at age 38, he is growing anxious to get back in the ring sooner rather than later.
However, the static nature of the current heavyweight division in 2022, with its endless rematches and long, tedious spells between title fights, is now working against the Finnish brawler.
Having waited long enough, Helenius is now speaking out. In a recent interview with Sky Sports, the Finn expressed his impatience, saying that he should rightfully be next in line for a title shot against the winner of the upcoming title rematch between current champion Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine and former titleholder Anthony Joshua of the UK.
Helenius says the WBA has mishandled his situation.
“I definitely should be next,” Helenius told Sky Sports.
“Every elimination bout after mine is bullshit! At this point, if we are not designated the mandatory after Usyk’s next fight, we will have only one option. My lawyers are very confident that the WBA have bungled this whole thing, so I am confident in my position,” Helenius argues.
The Nordic Nightmare has also in recent days been mentioned by promoter Frank Warren and manager Shelly Finkel as a possible opponent for the former WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder in a comeback fight this fall. It was Helenius who sparred with Wilder in the lead-up to the final, brutal match in the latter man’s trilogy with Tyson Fury.
Helenius, however, is keeping his eyes on the prize: a heavyweight title fight that he feels he has earned.
“For now, I will just stay focused on training and see how Usyk versus Joshua and my WBA situation plays out,” Helenius says.
“But I remain in a great position for something very big in the coming months for sure.”