Robert Helenius: ďWladimir Klitschko is really good at beating smaller guys from a distance where they feel powerless from doing anythingĒ
by Geoffrey Ciani (Exclusive Interview by Jenna J & Geoffrey Ciani) - This weekís 140th edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio (brought to you by CWH Promotions) featured an exclusive interview with undefeated heavyweight contender Robert Helenius (16-0, 11 KOs) who is coming off an impressive ninth round stoppage victory against former WBO champion Sergei Liakhovich (25-4, 16 KOs). Liakhovich is now the third former heavyweight world champion to be stopped by ďThe Nordic NightmareĒ inside the distance, with Samuel Peter and Lamon Brewster being the others. Helenius spoke about his victory, talked about his future, and also shared his views on the current state of the heavyweight landscape. Here is a complete transcript from that interview:
JENNA J: To kick this show right off, coming off a very impressive performance from this past weekend, weíre joined by ďThe Nordic NightmareĒ Robert Helenius. Howís everything going today Robert?
ROBERT HELENIUS: Hey, everything is fine. Iím just on vacation with my family here. Iím a little bit tired after the fight, but everything is cool.
JENNA: Well thatís good to hear. Well you had a heck of a fight this past Saturday night against Sergei Liakhovich.
HELENIUS: Thank you.
JENNA:A lot of people are saying itís one of the best heavyweight fights theyíve seen in a long time. How do you feel about your performance?
HELENIUS: Yeah, of course I feel always that I could do better and maybe move more on my feet and stuff like that apart from my own distance. I donít know. I just felt like I wanted to do some close combat and stuff like that, that I usually donít do in the fights. But Iím pleased with my fight, yeah.
JENNA: Alright, now did he do anything in the ring that surprised you?
HELENIUS: No. I knew he was going to go. I was ready to go twelve rounds. I knew he was in good shape and he got like three and a half months time to prepare and he is very much experienced. So I knew he was going to be a tough guy.
JENNA: Well he did very well in the early rounds, and from your perspective what do you think you could have done differently to have had an easier time with him?
HELENIUS: Just like I said, maybe fight at a bit more distance and more jabbing and keeping distance. I think that would have worked great, but I donít know. I was kind of lazy at some points in the fight I felt.
JENNA: One thing boxing fans have really complimented you on was your ability to finish Sergei Liakhovich when he was hurt. In the ninth round you had this beautiful combination with an uppercut. Can you tell us a little bit about the moment when you scored the knockout?
HELENIUS: Yeah I saw in round eight when I was starting to pursue him, I saw in his face that he was hit in all the rounds so many times that he was starting to get tired. I noticed that and I really tried to pressure and pursue him in the eighth round and I got him down on his knee. Then I knew I had to finish him in the ninth round. I did a really explosive uppercut and it landed perfectly, so after that I just said, ďNow youíre going downĒ.
JENNA: A lot of fans are saying your fight with Liakhovich really stole the show over the fight between Povetkin and Chagaev. Iím curious, did you get a chance to see that matchup between those two guys?
HELENIUS: I saw in the locker room like a few rounds before, but I didnít see the whole fight. It didnít really look close to me in the first two rounds, but then I didnít see so I canít really comment on that.
JENNA: Thatís fine, but as far as future opponents go where do you see Alexander Povetkin in your plans?
HELENIUS: Itís kind of hard for me to say. I plan everything with my manager and stuff like that so I canít really tell. Iím just recovering from my last fight so I havenít even started thinking about my next fight.
JENNA: You are getting a lot of fan praise saying youíre probably the most dangerous heavyweight out there right now. Youíre undefeated, you have good size, and especially with two champions like the Klitschkos that are big, they say that you have the best chance to defeat them. Do you feel that way?
HELENIUS: Yeah, Iím not sure if Iím really ready for that yet. Maybe one or two or three fights maybe, just to make my confidence a little bit higher and to work on my stamina a little more maybe.
JENNA: Okay, well Robert weíre also on the line with my Co-Host Geoff Ciani.
GEOFFREY CIANI: Hi Robert. Congratulations on the victory and welcome back to the show.
HELENIUS: Thank you.
CIANI: I wanted to ask you Robert, you now have three knockout victories against former heavyweight world champions. How does that make you feel in itself?
HELENIUS: (laughs) It feels good, of course. You know, but I have trained also. I worked for it a long time, so of course it feels really good to show results.
CIANI: Now you said that you didnít think you were quite ready for a Klitschko yet and that you might need a couple of more fights and some time to work on your stamina. Is your stamina the one area in your game then that you feel could use the most improvement?
HELENIUS: Yeah I think you could say that. My footwork and everything, you need really good conditioning to move around 110 kilos for twelve rounds. I feel really good. I wasnít feeling tired in that last fight, but still I want to improve myself to give myself better self confidence. Then I can really go in there and beat them.
CIANI: Now Robert you have deceptive power in my opinion, where when Iím watching your fights on TV it doesnít always look like youíre throwing the hardest punches, but the way that your opponents react when you hit them you can tell that youíre hitting them hard and you carry this power late into the fights, which is rare for heavyweights. How do you explain your ability to be able to carry your knockout power into the later rounds?
HELENIUS: Like I said I didnít feel tired. I felt like he was just hanging around. I started to pursue him really, really hard and in the eighth round I got the knockdown. I donít know. I felt really good I get more power from when I see the other guys getting tired, and I felt like that. We have trained for a lot of power, and maybe itís the technique also. My hits come straight from the chin sometimes, so sometimes itís really explosive, and I did a rhythmic change there in the eighth and ninth round with some really explosive punches, so I think that makes the punches even harder.
CIANI: I wanted to get your views on an upcoming heavyweight title fight between Vitali Klitschko and former cruiserweight champion Tomasz Adamek. Do you think somebody as small as Adamek has any shot against the older Klitschko brother?
HELENIUS: I donít know. I donít know. Itís really hard to tell. I think Adamek is prime and heís young and I think heís going to try to win of course, but maybe heís just too short and too little for Klitschko I think. I think Klitschko is going to dominate with his left hand like he always does. I think maybe he has in the beginning a really good shot to knock him down or something like that, but if Klitschkoís as good as before, I think heís going to dominate.
JENNA: Alright well Robert, people made a lot of the Klitschko versus Haye fight saying that it was a disappointment. Do you think that fight in any way negatively impacted the heavyweight division due to the fact that it did turn some boxing fans off?
HELENIUS: For me, of course it was also a disappointment that they didnít do as much work as I was expecting, but Wladimir Klitschko is really good at beating smaller guys from a distance where they feel powerless from doing anything. Maybe it wasnít that good of a fight. I donít know. Itís really hard to comment on that.
JENNA: Okay well I went to get your views on something else that people are talking about, and they are a little bit upset about it. Povetkin won the WBA ďregularĒ belt while Wladimir Klitschko is the unified champion who holds the main belt. Do you think that Povetkin should really be considered a champion holding the belt that people really say doesnít have much value?
HELENIUS: Thatís a really hard question, also. I donít think so often about that stuff. Iím just trying to get up to the top and of course itís nice Povetkin got a world title shot. There are so many belts out there. I have friends and fans that ask me what about this one, what about that one, but itís really hard now days when there are so many belts out there. Now when theyíre making new belts, I donít know. Itís very bad for the whole spirit of the game.
JENNA: Every fighter we have on the show usually says it doesnít matter who they get in the ring with. They just want to get back out there, but for you is there any particular name that youíre targeting for your next fight?
HELENIUS: No. Not really. No. Iím just waiting on talking to my promoter, and manager, and trainer, and weíll sit down after my vacation and talk things through to see what weíre going to do next.
CIANI: Robert Iím just curious, when you look at yourself now youíre a young undefeated fighter. What is it you would ultimately like to accomplish in boxing?
HELENIUS: I havenít really thought about that, but of course being a world championóa unified world championóthat would be perfect. That would be my dream.
CIANI: Now youíre starting to become a very popular name amongst die hard boxing fans, but a lot of the casual fans especially over here in America, they donít know much about you. How important do you think it is to start getting more American TV dates?
HELENIS: I think itís really important for the fans in the sport as a whole, for the whole boxing community. I think it would be good if there were more interesting fights, but like I said with the belts. Maybe too many belts make it hard to know whoís the real champion and stuff like that, and maybe thatís why people donít get more interested when there are like three or four champions and stuff like that. Of course itís very important. I hope people like my fights over there in the USA and maybe some day I am going to fight there.
CIANI: Now Liakhovich had a better performance against you then a lot of people were expecting, and it was actually the best heís looked in years. Do you think he still has something to offer the heavyweight division?
HELENIUS: Yeah, he was a tough opponent of course, but I donít think he has a shot to go for a heavyweight world title.
JENNA: Alright well Robert, we have just a couple of more questions before we let you off the line and I want to get your view on the Klitschko brothers themselves. People debate who is the better fighter, who is the better Klitschko, who is more dangerous? From your view, who do you think is the more dangerous opponent out of those two?
HELENIUS: It would be a better question after Adamek and Vitali fight, because Wladimir we have already seen not so long ago and Vitali is getting old. What is he? 39? 40 years?
JENNA: Yeah, 40.
HELENIUS: 40 yeah? So also I think itís really hard for him to keep in shape for such a long time. I donít know how many years heís been professional, but at this point I think Wladimir would be the better fighter.
JENNA: With regards to yourself how soon before you see yourself getting back in the ring?
HELENIUS: I take right now two weeks vacation, and then I start training again maybe in November or something like that.
JENNA: Alright well I have one final question. Is there anything you want to say to your fans and supporters that came out and watched you fight against Sergei Liakhovich?
HELENIUS: Thank you, and I hope you bring more fans next time and that you get interested in my fighting style.
JENNA: Robert it was a pleasure having you back on the show and we look forward to seeing what you continue to do at heavyweight.
HELENIUS: Thank you. The pleasure was all mine.
CIANI: Thank you, Robert. Best of luck.
HELENIUS: Thank you. Thank you very much. Bye.
For those interested in listening to the Robert Helenius interview in its entirety, it begins right at the start of the program.
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Article posted on 02.09.2011
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