Aside from the Jorge Linares-Abner Cotto fight, there wasn’t too much action taking place last night, but a reasonably big heavyweight scrap took place Stuttgart, Germany, as Robert Helenius and Erkan Teper battled it out for the vacant IBF inter-continental belt. With his very career on the line, 34 year old Helenius showed he still has something left to offer as he scored an impressive KO over Teper right at the end of the eighth-round.
Two left hands crashed into the retreating Teper’s chin, the second shot laying him out flat on his back, totally done. With the win, his first meaningful one in quite some time, Finland’s Helenius improves to 28-2(17) and he has now won three in a row since his sleepwalk of a points defeat to Dillian Whyte. Teper, the older man by a couple of years at age 36, falls to 18-3(11).
Helenius, so much the taller man with the longer reach, was able to keep the aggressive Teper off-balance and land his own shots as the shorter slugger tried to get on the inside. Helenius was holding his hands dangerously low and he was also pulling back from shots, his chin exposed, yet he was allowed to get away with it. Both men came to fight and the action was good enough, and both men were tired by the middle rounds. It was a close fight, with Teper winning his share of the rounds with his aggression and by landing some decent shots whenever he was able to bury inside Helenius’ jab.
The ending came pretty much out of the blue and the impressive KO may well have rejuvenated Helenius’ career. Helenius has been stopped just once during his ten-year pro career (by Frenchman John Duhaupas back in 2016) and when he’s ready to fight his hardest (and he sure wasn’t against Whyte in October of last year) he can be a a handful. Who knows, there could still be some big fights out there for the Finn.
As for Teper, the German who is perhaps best known for blasting out David Price in a couple of rounds in 2015 (and subsequently failing a drugs test) faces a long hard road if he is to continue.