By Michael Collins: Big unbeaten 6’6 ½” heavyweight Robert Helenius (18-0, 11 KO’s) will be facing high level journeyman Michael Sprott (37-19, 17 KO’s) in a scheduled 10 round bout on March 2nd in what may be a more competitive fight than what many boxing fans think at the Koenig Pilsener Arena, Oberhausen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany according to German boxen site x-boxen.
Helenius, 28, is still trying to find his way back to the top of the division after tearing up his shoulder in a questionable 12 round split decision win over Dereck Chisora last December in Finland. Helenius subsequently had to have shoulder surgery and he ended up missing 11 months of action. He came back against 40-year-old Sherman Williams last November and won an unimpressive 10 round unanimous decision in a fight where Williams had him hurt late in the fight.
Helenius’s right hand power was completely missing in that fight, and you have to figure that the shoulder surgery has taken away his once impressive power. Without his best weapon, his right hand, Helenius just looked like a tall fighter without much going for him other than his height and reach.
Sprott, 37, beat Germany favorite Edmund Gerber by a 10 round majority decision on December 15th of this month in a huge upset victory. Sprott battered the 6’3″ Gerber and did great job of landing the cleaner shots in winning this fight. It’s surprising that Sprott was given the victory because I figured Gerber would get the decision given that this was a home fight for him.
In the main event on this card, WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck (35-2-1, 25 KO’s) will be facing his old nemesis Ola Afolabi (19-2-4, 9 KO’s) for the third time. Huck beat Afolabi three years ago in a hard fought 12 round unanimous decision, but in their rematch earlier this year in May, Huck had to settle for a 12 round draw in a fight that many boxing fans thought he should have lost.
I had Afolabi winning the first six rounds of that fight and then winning two of the last six rounds to get what should have been a win. Huck has been lucky in the last couple of years in getting wins over Denis Lebedev, Afolabi and Firat Arslan in fights that many people in boxing thought he should have lost. It goes to show you how hard it is to beat Huck when he’s fighting in Germany, because I have a feeling that he would have lost all three of those fights had they taken place in a different country than his own.
The one fight where Huck didn’t win a close decision was in his fight earlier this year against WBA World heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin. Huck moved up in weight and was beaten by a 12 round majority decision.
Huck was out-worked by Povetkin, and it’s not surprising that he lost the fight, but was surprising is that the judges didn’t give him the nod because he’s been getting the benefit of the doubt in his other close fights that he appeared to lose. Huck was very lucky that he didn’t lose points in the Povetkin fight because he landed rabbit punches to the back of Povtkin’s head quite frequently without the referee docking him.