Good things happen when you don’t give up

Robert Helenius’s secret to success isn’t complicated: Keep honing.

His commitment to a boxing career has carried this heavyweight contender through the worst of times to the biggest fight of his life, a pay-per-view meeting with the former champion. Deontay Wilder on October 15 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

It’s been a long journey full of ups and downs for the 38-year-old Finn, who climbed to the top of the charts a decade ago, nearly lost it all to a shoulder injury and then returned. densely hunt for titles when that seems all but impossible.

“I have this worker mentality,” Helenius told Boxing Junkie. “I tend to mull over things, just do my best and see where I land.”

Helenius (31-3, 20 KOs) became a real threat to the Klitschko brothers as champions after knocking out Samuel Peter and Sergei Liakhovich, and also knocking out Derek Chisora, all within a year. 2011 is remarkable.

Victory over Chisora, however, came at a cost: His right hand tore a tendon on his power shoulder during training for the battle. He had surgery the following year, but even after rehabilitation, the shoulder was not the same.

That makes it impossible to keep working. He fought once in both 2012 and 2013 before stepping away from the sport for two years, around the time he was forced to move from his training base in Germany back to Finland and claim credit. construction and logging.

Then things got worse: He was saved by Johann Duhaupas for six rounds in Helsinki in 2016 and lost to Dillian Whyte the following year in Wales.

At the time, many believed he was finished as a relevant serious contender…if they thought about him.

“I (I) tore a tendon in my right shoulder before the game against Chisora ​​and things went downhill from there,” Helenius told Boxing Junkie on Friday. “I went through six, seven years where the training didn’t feel right. Every camp my shoulder hurts. …

“It was difficult but I have three children to take care of. I had to take a deep breath and keep grinding and grinding. “

Dark clouds started to rise in 2018, as he prepared to face Erkan Teper in Germany. Suddenly the pain in his shoulder disappeared, like being released from a boxing prison. That allowed him to train properly for the first time since his peak year of 2011, which resulted in Teper’s disqualification.

He lost his next fight, an eight-round knockout loss to Gerald Washington in 2019 which he described as “devastating”. However, he fell ill with flu symptoms before and during the game, which helped him sense the loss and maintain his confidence.

Then, after another war, his renaissance came.

Helenius is someone who thought of a fight with Adam Kownacki in March 2020, just a rival. He was eventually stopped by Washington in two previous skirmishes. And the undefeated Kownacki is one of the hottest young heavyweights in the world.

Result? Helenius, his extraordinary strength is on full display, stop Polish Americans in four rounds. And then he did it again seven months later, this time for six rounds.

He’s back all the way.

“He was the perfect match for me,” Helenius said of Kownacki. “I’ve been fighting with this kind of people all my life… the lesser ones who keep coming and coming and coming. I have the ability to respond and move my legs quite well. I knew I had a really good chance to prove myself.

“It was a huge relief for me,” he continued. “I knew I might have a new chance to get to the top, to keep my promise to win the title to Finland.”

He’ll have to get past Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) to do that, which won’t be an easy task.

Helenius knew it first, after fighting Wilder. The destructive power of the Americans seemed to catch anyone’s attention, as if there was any doubt. However, he adds one more thing: He can also jailbreak.

Indeed, the 6-foot-6½, 240-pound or more athlete entered the game with a lot of confidence following his consecutive Kownacki knocks, though he admits that Wilder represents “the biggest challenge.” his”. He believes he has what it takes to score goals that would be a big upset and then aim for a world title.

It goes back to grinding.

“Keep honing, keep doing your work,” he said, “and I think things will turn out well in the end no matter how bad you feel in between.”


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