He’s in shape, he couldn’t turn down the offer to fight at short-notice, and now veteran heavyweight contender Robert Helenius says he will defeat Anthony Joshua on Saturday night, and that he will then try and get himself a return fight with Deontay Wilder. Wow! One would think that after suffering the kind of scary, lights out knockout Helenius was the victim of when he fought Wilder last October, he would not want anything more to do with “The Bronze Bomber.”
But no, Helenius says, “I have to redeem myself,” and he wants Wilder again after the Joshua fight, which he says he will win. Speaking with Talk Sport, “The Nordic Nightmare” – a former sparring partner of Wilder’s – said he trained for a solid year for the fight that took place last October and that the fight was over with “too quick for my taste.”
“We had done hundreds of rounds of sparring, and he never took a step back, he only came for me,” Helenius said of Wilder, who KO’d Helenius as he was moving backwards. “I didn’t know he had that in him. My game plan was to go aggressive, at him. But after a minute-and-a-half in the first round, I was thinking something’s wrong. He was moving too fast backwards and I knew I had to change up. I knew I had to throw something at him and then he got me.”
Instantly, a fan will no doubt ask, how can Helenius possibly do any better in a rematch with Wilder? It’s a brave thing, going back in with a fighter who pole-axed you, or wanting to go back in with a guy who scored such a devastating KO when he fought you. You can’t deny Helenius’s gameness, but how on earth would a Wilder return sell? And would Wilder himself have any interest in facing Helenius a second time?
But this is getting too far ahead of things, Helenius has to pull off the big upset against AJ before he can even think about any other fight. And it would of course be a huge upset, and a huge blow to Joshua’s career, if the tall Finn managed to pull it off on Saturday. Fans, a good many of them at least, do see Helenius, 32-4(21) as a live underdog going into the Joshua fight, and to repeat, the 39 year old does look to be in good physical shape.
The hunger seems to still be there, too – hence that brave, foolish, unrealistic (call it what you will) talk of getting a Wilder rematch. And Helenius is a likeable guy, who is easy to root for. AJ insists he is not overlooking Helenius and AJ has to be the pick to win, most likely by stoppage. However, if Helenius can pull off what would probably be voted Upset of The Year when we look back at 2023, we will have to give him much respect.
And Helenius says he will call for that Wilder return!