NORDIC EXPOSURE -The primary boxing stories dispatched out of Helsinki from the biggest networks last weekend concerned how masterfully Carl Froch dispatched Arthur Abraham.
Around the Balticcoast however, the real story was emerging heavyweight contender RobertHelenius, 14-0 (9) of Finland. Helenius, the Nordic Nightmare blasted out decently experienced Attila Levin in the 2nd sessionof theirEurobelt encounter.
Helenius stole the Super Six show with a big performance against a big foe who may have lacked true world class skills but still looked formidable. Call gigantic but soft spoken Helenius the Super six footand a half.
Helenius still adheres to that oldphilosophy in which one prefers thattheir actions speak for themselves.Maybe that has something to do with why fans around an expanding radius in central Europe are mentioning the name Heleniusmore and more as a rising star.
Helenius has already grown into quite a local celebrity in these parts. Althougha large percentage of the people in Hartwall Arena tookextended smoke breaksand chose to watch on concourse monitorsduringother Finnish fighters matches.When Helenius made his way to the ring most patrons scurried into the buildings cave like coreso there were over 5,500watching, and they were more boisterous than when the crowdgrew to approximately 7,007 for the main event an hour later.
The faithful didnt have to wait long foranother intermission puff. Considering Finlands uneasy history with Levins homeland Sweden, there was probably some easily exaggerated hype about the rivalry. The pair both appeared entirely professional during weigh-in proceedings at central Helsinkis well known club The Tiger, where it was nice to see four round fighters get a chance to chill on velvet roped-off, rooftopsofa type table areas usually known for catering to famous lounge lizards with nameslike Paris.
One of Heleniuss few apparentconcerns that day was bumping his head on the faux tree branches that hung as decorations over the booths. Levin, 34-4 (27), showed up in shape and dropped a heavy limb or two on Helenius the next evening, but any well laid plans of deterring Heleniuss looming assault definitely never got a chance to branch out. Tim-ber.
Round one was tentative as the fighters tested each others strength behind respectable trades.
At 65 Levin wasnt really shorter than Helenius. Levin attempted to advance quickly behind multipleinside shots and scored the first punches up and down, but Helenius stayed consistent with a deceivingoutside jab then chopped to the ribs with both hands.
In the second session Helenius calmly marched in behind strong, straight armed crosses and droppedhis willing but outgunned opponentwith a bigright counter after Levin landed a big lead of his own. Levin managed toconnect withanother solid shot as Helenius charged back in to finish it, but if Helenius felt the desperate leatherhe sure didnt show it. Helenius soon drove him back into the ropesLevin staggered and dazed and when Helenius landed a pair offinishingrights to the chin and earthe pounding was waved off.
Levin or his seconds didnt protest the stoppage, and he still looked dazed for minutes afterward. The crowd clapped and stomped their snow boots in unison as the time of 1:20was announced.
Besides convincing Levin, Helenius made a further impression on both fellow fighters and fans. After a brief holiday break, Heleniuslooks to be back in action by springtime.
Boxing is still a very popular, major TVsport sport throughout much of Europe, and there were broadcasting crews filming throughout the arena as if they were cruise ships floating throughout the arena as if they were cruise ships floating into the heavily trafficked bay nearby.
I got a really good reception from the people here, said a low key Helenius in improving Englishafter the fight as he signed ticket stubs and programs for food stand workers,security guards and a few fans that loitered with hopes of a glimpse.That was really nice. I thought the first round was not easy, but in the second round I noticed that he has got no guard in the left hand and my right hand was perfect to come overthe opening.
As you can see, he needs to fight with more confidence, which he did in the second round, said trainer Ulli Wegner. I am pleased with this performance. After more training we will get even closer to our goals, when we fight for a heavyweight world championship. Today was a step in the right direction.
Ive watchedRobert getting better fight after fight, I think he throws one of the biggest right hands of all heavyweights these days, said promoterWilfred Sauerland. Ive never seen anybody knocking people down like this with one single punch. He still needs some time, hes just 26. ButI think in couple years he will be right at the top of the division and I think he can achieve his big goal.
In this context, fringe is defined as ready to break into the top twenty. A big step up means a match against somebodymost reasonable observers would agree is not too far removed from the top ten.
Who belongs where in the rankings is an ongoing debate, butalmost every non-partisan party lists the Klitschkos alone at the top, with a universalneed for more new blood than a Twilight Twitterfest.
There is nothing light-handed about Helenius, as he proved againlast August in Erfurt, Germany with an efficient imploding ofGregory Tony. The win got Heleniusone of thoseEU title belts, but mainly it got him more experience against a rugged foe who came to fight.
Speculation onwho will be the next legitimate challengercarried on more and more as semi-contenders clash. Most of those have been eliminated or reckon they would be, so they bide time until maybe a Klitschko gets elected or injured. Meanwhile some keep fighting amongst themselves, ulterior motives on their ring robe sleeves.
You might not be familiar with the name Robert Helenius, buthes probably going to change that. Heleniuss biggest victory remains the 8th round TKO over Lamon Brewster that derailed Brewsters comeback last January. Yes it could be alleged that Sauerland promotions signed Brewster knowing hed make a decent notch on Heleniuss resume. You could even pretend they put something in Brewsters water.
The truth is that something does get put into Heleniuss extra large gloves, mainly honest knockout power.
Despite Tomasz Adamek earning most of the good,realistic press lately and David Haye blabbing on and onabout becoming the next big thing, Helenius could be laying the groundwork for the mostserious assault on the Klitschko empire. In the wide regional scope of German television, Helenius has moved toward the front of theEuropean pack. Thats where the action is above 200 pounds, and if his rise continues Helenius could emerge as a gloved up global factor.
It doesnt seem likely Haye will ever fight Helenius unless he absolutely has too, since Heleniuswill probablyneverbe a worthwhile risk/reward.
It figures that unless Adamek gets shocked by Vinnie Maddalone, he and the winner of Odlanier Solis versus Ray Austin will move to the front of the Klitschko sweepstakes.
The most logical, easy to make match with considerable subsequentcontender status attached is against the winner of the Alexander Dimitrenko- Albert Sosnowski bout this weekend.
Helenius has at least an even shot against any those potential title challengers.
If you can get any decent odds on Helenius against the likes of Denis Boytsov or Cristobal Arreola it wouldnt be the worst play to make.
Facing off against almost every other heavyweight except the very best, meaning the Klitschkos, Helenius is positioning himself as a favorite with audiences and odds.