By James Slater: Fans have been wanting to see unbeaten heavyweight hope Robert Helenuis take a step up in class, so as to decide for themselves if “The Nordic Nightmare” is the real deal or not. The 27-year-old who stands an impressive 6’6.5” sure is willing to prove he’s the real goods, as he’s taken on the dangerous Sam Peter and is now set to face former WBO heavyweight ruler Sergei Liakhovich in his next big test.
According to Ring.tv.com and Boxrec.com, the 15-0(10) contender from Finland will face the 35-year-old from Belarus in Germany in July (Ring.tv have the date as July 1st, Boxrec have the date as being July 16th). Liakhovich, who turns 35 today, is 25-3(16) overall and he has won two since launching a comeback after his points loss to Nikolai Valuev. Having been far from active even though he says he is ready for a fresh title run, “The White Wolf” stopped Evans Quinn in the 9th just over a year ago. If he can topple the streaking Helenuis, Liakhovich will have stirred things up a little, possibly rejuvenating his career in the process.
Helenuis is very much a work in progress. The 9th-round KO he scored over former WBC champ Peter was genuinely impressive, but Helenius was not having things his own way in the previous rounds. Possessing real power in his punches, Helenius has thus far shown a good chin also. A win over Liakhovich, a stoppage win especially, would do his career no harm at all.
The former WBO champ has a great deal of experience, having been in with the likes of Valuev, Lamon Brewster and Shannon Briggs. Stopped just twice as a pro (by the now faded Maurice Harris, who KO’d him in the 9th way back in 2002, and by Shannon Briggs who scored that amazing, last second TKO when Liakhovich was knocked clean through the ropes in 2006), it would be something of a statement by Helenius is he were able to KO Liakhovich in style.
It’s still way too early to tell if Helenius might one day be capable of giving either Kitschko a real argument, but the Fin has plenty of fans excited and he is as promising as any other young and unbeaten heavyweight you care to mention.
Helenius’ 2010, 8th-round TKO win over Brewster got people talking; his April win over Peter earned him yet more attention. A smashing KO over Liakhovich would only add to the tall contender’s fan base. I think Helenius, being too young, too strong, too determined and too powerful, will get Liakhovich out of there inside eight-rounds.