A pair of Heavyweight fights in Europe on Saturday, April 2nd, merit attention as the winners will be making a case for a world title shot down the line.
PIC: Johan Duhaupas celebrates in his corner while the referee counts out Robert Helenius.
In Krakow, Poland Tomasz Adamek (50-4) took on the challenge of Eric Molina (24-3) in a twelve round bout with the vacant IBF Inter-Continental title on the line.
Adamek is a former world champion at Light Heavyweight and Cruiserweight. He has long campaigned at Heavyweight, losing to Vitali Klitschko in September of 2011. He retired in 2014 after experiencing back to back losses to countryman Artur Szpilka and Russia's Vyacheslav Glazkov. Both of those men parlayed their defeat of Adamek into world title shots. Adamek, now 39 years old, came back in September of 2015 and this was the second fight of that return. Molina is best remembered for his June of 2015 fight with Deontay Wilder where he lost by KO in the 9th round in what was Wilder's first WBC World title defense.
The fight started out well for Adamek, who is a fine technical boxer. Molina is a savvy veteran, however, and he was able to pick his spots. More importantly, he was taking Adamek's best shots. Adamek resorted to using a lot of movement, and he seemed the more active of the two fighters.
Late in the tenth round, Molina landed a crushing blow that sent Adamek to the canvas. The former champion rolled on his back and rose to a knee, trying to beat the ten count. The referee stopped the fight as Adamek rose on wobbly legs. The fight was all over and so likely are Adamek's hopes of a title run in the Heavyweight division.
The undercard in Poland saw Heavyweight Adrzej Wawrzyk move his record to 32-1 with a seventh round stoppage over fellow countryman Marcin Rekoswki (17-2). Wawrzyk's lone loss came in May of 2013 at the hands of Alexander Povetkin, who knocked him out in the third. This win makes him 5-0 since that loss, including a 3rd round stoppage over Mike Sheppard in September of last year on the undercard of the Deontay Wilder vs Johann Duhaupas bout in Birmingham, Alabama.
The second relevant heavyweight bout from Saturday afternoon came to us from Helsinki, Finland as Robert Helenius (22-O) and Johann Duhaupas (33-3) battled for the vacant WBC Silver Heavyweight title.
Helenius was on the verge of a world title shot at the end of 2011 when he defeated Dereck Chisora, but he fought just twice from 2012-2014. He mounted a comeback in March of 2015 and has won three fights since, with Duhaupas being his most noteworthy opponent to date. Duhaupas is best remembered for his September 2015 fight with Deontay Wilder where he served as Wilder's second WBC title defense.
Helenius, the hometown fighter, entered the fight a considerable favorite at the sport books, and he had big height and reach advantages that he used throughout the early going.
Duhaupas shocked the audience in the sixth round when he sent Helenius to the canvas hard for a second time in the bout. The giant Finn was not able to get up and the referee waved the fight off while Helenius was hanging on the ropes.
Two upsets in the Heavyweight division are in the books for April 2nd.