By Mikko Salo:The Ring Magazine #6 and TBR #9 heavyweight contender Robert ”Nordic Nightmare” Helenius (18-0, 11 KO) returned to the ring after an 11-month injury layoff on Saturday night in Helsinki Ice Hall in front of 4000 hometown fans. He scored a unanimous 10-round decision over game journeyman Sherman ”The Tank” Williams (35-12-2, 19 KO) by tallies of 99-91, 99-93 and 98-93.
Helenius cruised to clear decision behind his left jab and right cross, mixing in some succesful body punching and a couple of uppercuts. The victory didn`t come without drama, though. In the 6th round the 40-year-old Bahamian veteran landed his ”conch punch”, the overhand right, flush on Helenius`s chin. The Finn was clearly hurt but recovered quickly. Williams was unable to use his window of opportunity and by 7th round it was back to normal, which meant a slow paced contest marked with a bit of ring rust from Helenius and Williams taking long stretches off in search for another big right.
”I felt good from the start but obviously there was some rust to shake off”, said the former European titlist in the press conference after the match. ”Sherman made me dance a little salsa there with his 6th round conch punch, but I took it like a man. It tasted good.” Before and after the 6th round scare Helenius was in clear control of the match. ”Maybe I started to feel a bit too good about myself and got careless. In boxing you get reminded for that”, the Finn smiled. ”By the end of the 6th I was completely recovered, but maybe I boxed the rest of the match a little bit too carefully. Anyway, this was a good performance after a long layoff.”
Sherman Williams acknowledged that Helenius deserved the decision. ”He was the better boxer tonight. My game plan was to pick my punches and put pressure on him. He uses his length well and is hard to hit. In the 6th and 7th I tried to stop it, but didn`t succeed. I think I did pretty well since I took the fight on 2 weeks notice”, the veteran said.
Helenius`s German trainer Ulli Wegner was pleased with the fight and the outcome. ”Robert fought a tactically smart fight. We were well prepared for the overhand right and Williams was still able to land it big in the 6th. That`s how it goes in boxing sometimes.”
Team Sauerland`s Hagen Döring shed some light on Helenius`s future plans. ”We are looking for a title fight and it looks like we could go for the European title again. The titlist Kubrat Pulev (ranked #5 by The Ring and #6 by TBR) might get a chance to challenge Wladimir Klitschko for the Heavyweight Championship in the near future and in that case he will vacate his European belt. Robert is currently rated as the #1 challenger by EBU, so we will see what happens.”
On the undercard of this edition of Team Sauerland`s Nordic Fight Night series, Norwegian former alphabet title challenger, featherweight Andreas Evensen (17-2-1, 6 KO) scored a 10-round decision over former European title challenger Philippe Frenois (15-7-1) of France and Swedish light heavyweight prospect Erik Skoglund (13-0, 7 KO) TKOed Gyorgy Marosi (16-7, 9 KO) of Hungary in the 1st round. The undercard also featured three Danish prospects, with 21-year-old middleweight Patrick Nielsen (17-0, 8 KO) decisioning game Belgian Jamel Bahki (24-4-2, 6 KO) over 10 rounds and his 19-year-old brother Micki Nielsen (4-0, 4 KO) KOing hapless Belarussian Dzianis Vardomski (1-2-1, 1 KO) in the 1st round of a cruiserweight contest. Continuing a victorious night for the Danes was London olympian Dennis Ceylan (2-0, 1 KO), who scored a 4-round decision over game Anton Bekish (3-4, 3 KO) of Belarussia.
The undercard also featured three Finnish fighters. 22-year-old middleweight prospect Fitim Latifi (3-0) scored a decision over Norwegian Alexander Jacobsen (2-1, 2 KO). Latifi is coached by Robert Helenius`s father Karl Helenius. Finnish middleweight titleholder Timo Laine (7-2) suffered a bloody TKO 8 defeat in the hands of Frenchman Ahmed Raifaie (8-4-2, 3 KO) and Finnish heavyweight titleholder Janne ”Finnish Butterbean” Katajisto (12-0-1, 5 KO) decisioned Croatian Ivica Perkovic (17-17, 13 KO).
November 10, 2012