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Robert Helenius to face Johann Duhaupas on Saturday

28
Mar
Photo credit: Pasi Taavitsainen

Photo credit: Pasi Taavitsainen

 

Robert Helenius regained the European heavyweight title when he outpointed Franz Rill last December.

The heavyweight hopeful returned last year after two years of inactivity in the boxing wilderness due to injuries and a dispute with former promoter Sauerland Event.

Helenius (22-0, 13 knockouts) stopped two journeymen to set up a fight with then EBU champion Erkan Teper. However, Teper pulled out of the fight with a shoulder injury and vacated the title. It was later revealed that Teper had failed a drug screening.

The popular Finnish-based fighter was matched with the previously unbeaten Rill to fill the vacancy.

Helenius won a wide decision, dropping his German-based, Canadian-born opponent twice along the way.

On Saturday, at Hartwall Arena, in Helsinki, Finland, Helenius looks to continue his rehabilitation when he faces former WBC title challenger Johann Duhaupas, a bout Helenius is taking in stride.

“Duhaupas is similar to any fight,” Helenius told RingTV.com through translator Pasi Taavitsainen. “I’m going there to win the fight. Nothing else matters.”

The Frenchman is just one fight removed from a valiant title try when he went 11 rounds with WBC boss Deontay Wilder last September.

Helenius was unimpressed by his effort.

“He did not do that well against Wilder,” he said. “You have to win (against) everybody to be the best and I’m going for the gold, so it don’t matter who he has fought. Every fight is a new one and I’ll need my full focus on this fight.”

Back in 2011, when Helenius was in his first go-round at EBU champion, he had won a cache of fringe titles and seemed on the way to a title try.

Things suddenly took a turn for the worse when he only eked out a controversial split decision against Derek Chisora in late ’11. It took until last year to get things back on track.

“I was away because my physical condition was not good at Sauerland training camp. They trained me wrong and I broke everything and was hurting,” the 32-year-old explained. “They made me fight Chisora in 2011 with a broken shoulder, elbow and scaphoid (a carpal bone in the hand) bone out of place and two cervical vertebrae on the back of the neck was out of place due to economic blackmail.

“So I almost lost everything, my career and my shoulder because of that…(I had) shoulder and knuckle surgery. The recovery from the shoulder tendon was long and painful but I’m back as a free agent now and they are still trying to ruin my life with a lawsuit and stuff but I was born a Viking and I’ll never give up. I was born to fight.”

Currently, Helenius is ranked No. 23 by the WBC, who ranks Duhaupas at No. 13. The winner could expect to close in on a Top 10 position, something not lost on “The Nordic Nightmare,” though he refuses to look too far into the future.

“I’m not that far from the world title,” he said, “but let’s take this fight first.”

 

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright

 

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