Robert Helenius knows what it’s like to share a ring with Deontay Wilder as the big Finn prepares for a showdown on Saturday night.
The top-rated heavyweight helped “The Bronze Bomber” prepare for his third installment with “The Gypsy King” Tyson Fury.
Helenius must get commended for playing a part in the Alabama slammer’s Fight of the Year effort despite another defeat against the WBC champion.
“The Nordic Nightmare” now comes up against the most feared puncher on the planet. Wilder boasts 41 knockouts from 42 wins.
Can Robert Helenius avoid a Deontay Wilder knockout?
Only a handful of opponents have been able to reach the final bell of a Deontay Wilder bout.
Despite the statistics on those KOs, Helenius doesn’t see that as the main threat after spending time sparring with Wilder and coach Malik Scott last year.
“Deontay and I know each other very well. When we sparred, he was preparing for a tall guy like me [in Fury],” pointed out Helenius.
“While I was training for a very different kind of fighter. But some things do still get stuck with you during training. However, the fight is much different than sparring.
“It’s tough to say if I felt Deontay’s power in sparring because of the headgear and bigger gloves.
“I think it’s more about his speed. Some people punch with a lot of force, but I think his best attribute is explosiveness.”
New York return
On returning to Barclays Center in New York, where he shocked Adam Kownacki once before repeating the feat in Las Vegas, Helenius added: “I’m finally back in Brooklyn. It feels really good.
“I’ve had a great training camp. I’m ready for this fight. I’m doing everything in my power to be my best self on fight night.”
Kownacki was the one being lined up to face Wilder in a Big Apple spectacular. However, Helenius threw a spanner in Al Haymon’s plan.
With injuries behind him, Helenius aims to prove he’s a top-tier operator with the best heavyweights in the division.
A victory is imperative if he holds any ambition of challenging for the WBC title.
“I’m very blessed to be in this position. I’ve been in this game for a long time.
“I knocked guys out in 2011 before I had a severe injury that kept me out for a long time. Now is the first time that I really feel like I’m back.
“It took me a while to get back to normal training after the operation on my shoulder. I still have several more good years to give, so why not give it all?
“There’s a lot of excitement and enthusiasm for my fans back home, so I know I have to bring it on October 15.
“I’ve had a long career. I know how I feel before fights. I feel more comfortable and more confident heading into this fight than I’ve felt in a long time.
“Beating Kownacki was key to me. I know that without those victories, I would not be here.
Underdog vs Deontay Wilder
Concluding on his status as a 6/1 outsider to beat Wilder, Helenius knows he can be competitive in the fight. It’s simply a case of whether he can avoid that big right hand that Luis Ortiz and Bermane Stiverne couldn’t avoid in the past.
“I like being the underdog. It wakes me up a little bit. I know I must concentrate fully and be the best version of myself.
“Of course, there’s still some pressure, but that’s what comes with being in such an important fight.
“We’ve been training for this fight for a very long time, so we’ve made some tactical changes.
“I obviously can’t reveal it, but we’re going to be ready for Deontay.
“Deontay is fast and unpredictable with his right hand. That’s his best skill. He disguises that right hand and when it’s coming.”
Helenius could scupper plans for Premier Boxing Champions head Al Haymon to pit Tuscaloosa’s finest with Andy Ruiz Jr. next February in Las Vegas.
WBC heavyweight title shot
Haymon petitioned for Wilder and Ruiz to both be involved in WBC heavyweight title eliminators before a massive Pay Per View next year.
Ruiz did his part by beating Ortiz last month at the former Staples Center.
The overall winner will be mandatory for a shot at Fury, who recently lost out on facing Brit rival Anthony Joshua.
However, Fury has time before any stipulation for his green and gold belt. He’s closing in on a clash with veteran boxing star Derek Chisora on December 3rd.
Dependent on when he wants to fight again, Fury could face the winner of Wilder vs Ruiz by June or July next year.