It seems to be that, if a fighter conducts himself well in a challenge of reigning WBC heavyweight king, he will reap the rewards another big, high profile fight can bring. Eric Molina, who hit and hurt Wilder before being stopped in the 9th-round of a game challenge last June, will travel to Poland to face big name and former two-weight champ Tomasz Adamek on April 2nd, while on the same day, Johann Duhaupas will travel to Finland to fight unbeaten contender Robert Helenius.
Frenchman Duhaupas, 33-3(20) extended Wilder into the 11th-round back in September, also busting up the defending champ’s eye. Duhaupas did well in the fight, even calling for a rematch shortly after being stopped for the first time in his career. Now, both he and Helenius, 22-0(13) are hoping a win in April will lead them to a world title fight later this year.
Helenius, fighting at home, will no doubt enter the April 2nd fight as the big favourite, but “The Nordic Nightmare” will know Duhaupas – himself having one of the sport’s most colourful nicknames, that of “Reptile” – is no pushover. A distance fight does seem to look likely. Still, Helenius, back in 2011 when he was an injury-free top contender, was scoring a few notable KO’s. A shoulder injury seriously hampered the 32-year-old’s progress and now fans are wondering if Helenius can make up for lost time. A commanding win over the durable and motivated Duhaupas may give us some answers.
Helenius returned to action from a two year layoff in March of last year and he has won three in a row, including a win that saw him regain the European heavyweight title. Helenius didn’t hold onto it too long, vacating to concentrate on his world title ambitions (with Kubrat Pulev and Dereck Chisora set to fight for the vacant crown) and again, he hopes a win over Duhaupas will get him one big step closer.
In his day, pre-injury/layoff, Helenius was an exciting fighter, seen by many as a good bet for a future world ruler. Maybe the tall, powerful Helenius can still make it to the top. This fight will give us a quality measuring stick. Look for Helenius to have to make do with a points win over Duhaupas though.