Deontay Wilder vs Robert Helenius – Who wins and why?
Deontay ‘The Bronze Bomber’ Wilder (42-2-1, 41KO) meets ‘The Nordic Nightmare’ Helenius (31-3, 20KO) in a WBC Eliminator on October 15 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
36-year-old Wilder enters the bout off the back of two big losses, while Helenius, 38 from Finland, confidently arrives after scoring his two biggest career wins against Adam Kownacki.
That’s not where their dissimilarities end, their styles are miles apart too. The Finnish fighter started boxing at the mere age of five and experienced over 200 amateur bouts. With all that muscle memory and early discipline, he now has a very neat, pure boxing style; technically brilliant, putting eyecatching combinations together effortlessly, as it all comes very natural to him.
In direct contrast, Wilder didn’t start boxing until he was 20-years-old! While he was stepping into the Skyy Boxing Gym in Northport for the first ever time in his life, Helenius was beating up David Price in a tournament in China.
Wilder only had 35 amateur bouts but rose through the ranks quickly to land an Olympic bronze medal, which is every boxer’s dream; but his style is far from technical, often criticised for his lack of boxing ability and skill, especially when he’s seen windmilling wildly at thin air, criss-crossing his feet, often off-balance; but that awkward, erratic style works for him. Whether you’re a fan or not, this man has 20 first-round KOs and won multiple awards for ‘Knockout of the Year’. He is dangerous from the first bell to the last.
Trainer Malik Scott has managed to unlock a few hidden attributes to add to his overall game, but, technically, Helenius is a much better, vaster experienced, more skilled boxer.
Their amateur achievements have been replicated to the same levels in the professional ranks with Helenius winning European titles and Wilder capturing a World.
Despite the critical questions over the credibility of his opponents, Wilder’s 10 successful WBC World title defences is still an impressive achievement in any era of boxing.
The fearsome puncher has dropped every single opponent he has ever faced and has a frightening 97.61% KO ratio.
The only man to ever defeat Wilder is, arguably, the best heavyweight on the planet, Tyson Fury, who he put down four times during their 30 epic rounds together.
Helenius does possess a few advantages here. He has shared many rounds of sparring with Wilder so has intimate knowledge of his forthcoming opponent, which should really help him when he’s in there, although sparring is very different to fight night, of course. He believes he is catching Wilder at the right time after suffering back to back defeats.
However, Wilder has a strong mindset, even after receiving a one-sided seven-round beatdown in the 2020 rematch with Fury, he managed to come back to put in an improved performance in the trilogy fight in October last year, where he scored two knockdowns and was still battling back in round 11.
The American hasn’t fought since then, taking his time to recover and to plot his route back to world title contention. Helenius has also been out of the ring for a year too, because his last fight was on Fury-Wilder 3 undercard.
The Finn is accurate and can definitely hurt Wilder but it takes a lot of punishment to make any kind of dent in the durable Alabaman.
Swedish-born Helenius has been stopped twice before, most notably by Gerald Washington in 2019, because it was straight right hand from Washington that floored and finished him in the eighth round. That exact same punch is Wilder’s trademark move, so when his one lands, it’s highly likely to be fight-ending.
Helenius has since come back with three straight stoppages – all before the midway mark – so the WBA #2 has form, momentum and confidence coming into this Eliminator contest… but will that be enough to secure victory against such a fearsome, forceful, formidable foe?
Wilder is the outright favourite at 1/8 with Betway, while Helenius is the clear underdog at 9/2 and no one is expecting it to end in a draw with odds at 22/1.
I expect Helenius to come out of his corner confidently, likely landing the first few blows, scoring some eyecatching shots to impress the judges early on, but as soon as Wilder detonates that right hand of his, then it’s all over. I expect the very first heavy right hand from Wilder to cause a reaction, and he may be be able to absorb one or two to start with or he could crumple under the very first one. We have to wait to see just how tough he will be, but I think Wilder will most certainly land one of his big bombs in the first round to place the Finn in a world of trouble.
How long the contest lasts after that remains to be seen, but I predict Wilder to win by KO between rounds 1-3.