Deontay Wilder broke a record on Saturday night by ending a world title eliminator fight with just three punches landed.
The boxing superstar and former longtime heavyweight champion announced his return Saturday night.
He blasted out the top-rated Robert Helenius in the first round of their WBC heavyweight title eliminator.
How many punches did it take Deontay Wilder to win?
“The Nordic Nightmare” was taken care of in 177 seconds and with only the third thrown punch of the fight by the American.
Wilder vs Helenius headlined a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View from Barclays Center in Brooklyn on October 15.
In his first fight since an epic trilogy with Tyson Fury, Wilder stepped into the ring after a year. He quickly reminded the world why he’s one of the most feared punchers in boxing history.
“I set him up,” said Wilder. “I allowed him to reach. When he reached, I attacked,” said Wilder, adding a little sarcasm to the mix with his following statement, “It was a great fight.
“It’s been a good camp for me. We worked to make this fun for me. But we work at this so much that it can just become a job.
“We made it fun again. We put in over 700 rounds. It paid off tonight big time.”
Headlining at Barclays Center for the fifth time in his career, Wilder added yet another devastating highlight to his resume at the arena in Brooklyn and credited the fight’s setting for adding inspiration to his triumph.
“It’s just amazing to be back in Brooklyn,” said Wilder. “It’s like a second home to me. It feels so good to be back.
“When I got off the plane, I felt great energy and love. That’s all I needed.”
Short right hand or half a punch
After a mostly cautious first round, Wilder only landed three punches, according to CompuBox.
Wilder caught a lunging Helenius with a short right hand that has ended the nights of numerous heavyweights over the last decade plus.
Referee Mike Griffin quickly halted the action 2:57 into the round as Wilder turned his attention toward a second reign as heavyweight world champion.
“I’ve been hearing rumors about (unified heavyweight champion) Oleksandr Usyk, but he’s not here, is he?” expressed Wilder.
“When guys see these knockouts, they turn the corner away from me. I’m ready for whatever.
“Whether it’s Andy Ruiz Jr. or Usyk, I’m ready. Deontay Wilder is back. The excitement in the heavyweight division is back.”
One of the best heavyweights in the world, Wilder put back-to-back defeats against Tyson Fury behind him. “The Gypsy King” could be back in his sights if he wins a final eliminator against Ruiz.
Despite calling out Anthony Joshua, Tuscaloosa’s finest is lined up by Premier Boxing Champions promoter Al Haymon to fight Ruiz in Las Vegas next year.
The clash could happen as early as February and will see the hardest puncher on the planet potentially become the mandatory challenger for the WBC title.
Deontay Wilder vs Helenius results
In the pay-per-view opener, former bantamweight world champion Manny Rodriguez (21-2, 13 KOs) won a technical decision.
His bout ended two seconds into round ten. It was a rematch against the previously unbeaten Gary Antonio Russell (19-1, 12 KOs).
After their August 2021 matchup ended in a no-contest due to a head butt in round one, the rematch was again called after a head butt, with this one occurring in round nine.
Rodriguez suffered the worst clash but could rise to his feet and finish the round. The ringside physician stopped the fight as round ten began.
Puerto Rico’s Rodriguez emerged victorious on the cards by scores of 100-90, 99-91and 97-93.
“I’m going to get a little rest now, then I want to come back and fight for the world title,” said Rodriguez post-fight.
“He was the better fighter today,” said Russell. “I felt like he outpointed me. I thought I started to pick it up after the fifth round, but it wasn’t enough.”
Russell brought an unbeaten record into the contest and was looking for a signature victory to launch himself into title contention.
However, he was initially met with a stiff defense, as Rodriguez found spots for powerful counter shots that staggered Russell in rounds one and four.
Rodriguez remained patient and nearly scored a knockout blow in round eight, landing a perfect straight counter right hand that put Russell on the mat.
Rodriguez controlled the action throughout, out-landing his opponent 120 to 73 overall and 78 to 41 in power punches on his way to the win.
“If you get knocked down with a good shot, you feel it,” said Russell. “People like to lie about that.
“But I was conscious and able to regain myself. It was the first time I was hurt in a fight, but I was prepared for it.”
“I knew that I was dominating the fight,” said Rodriguez. “When I knocked him down, I thought his corner should have stopped the fight. He wasn’t right at that moment.”