Heavyweight Robert Helenius took on Michael Sprott, in a bid to be seen as a contender and foe for a Klitschko, in the main undercard bout before the Arthur Abraham-Robert Stiegliz rematch from Getech Arena in Magdeburg, Germany on Saturday.
The 18-0 Swedish-born hitter, No. 1 in the WBO, was in with a 36-19 guy on the downside, and hoping to look good after getting a gift win over Dereck Chisora and then looking boring in a win over Sherman Williams.
EPIX, the pay movie channel, televised and offered a stream on computers and boxes.*
Helenius, age 29, weighed 238, while Sprott, age 38, was 243.
I saw Helenius a 7-3 winner. He started out with a decent jab, and was persistent with it. Sprott took the third, when he got more aggressive, with overhand rights and left hooks. He had decent luck in the fifth, with more effective power shots. But in the seventh, Sprott was buzzed, with sharp rights and hooks. Helenius didn't come out nasty to close in the tenth and he probably gave that one away too. Overall, Helenius needed to be busier. He doesn't try to do damage with his jab, and while he does put together combos, it seems as if he lacks a mean streak.
He said after to Bruce Beck of EPIX that he wasn't in a zone and that mainly because his right hand hurt after round two. He called himself "lazy" and said he needs to look better to be thought of as a legit contender versus a Klitschko. During the show, analyst Lou DiBella said he didn't want to see Helenius again, unless it's against a top ten test.
We saw George Groves pound out Baker Barakat, and stop him in the second round, while upping his record to 18-0, in the TV opener. Barakat went to 37-14. The super middle victor fought for the second time in two weeks. He'll fight again on the Froch-Kessler undercard.
Bruce Beck asked him about being with four promoters in four years, and he said he will stick with Eddie Hearn. He said he thinks he could beat the main eventers tonight, Arthur Abraham and Robert Stieglitz.
He did show some nice things, like doubling and tripling up on the jab, and throwing combos, which impressed analyst Lou DiBella.
*=I this Tweeted this show for EPIX