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Johann Duhaupas KOs Robert Helenius in 6th!

Jeff Aranow: #13 WBC former world title challenger Johann “Reptile” Duhaupas (34-3, 21 KOs) used a fast pace to give #12 IBF Robert Helenius (22-1, 13 KOs) his first career defeat on Saturday night in stopping him in the 6th round to capture the vacant WBC Silver heavyweight title at the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland.

The 35-year-old Duhaupas knocked a weary 6’6 ½” Helenius down with a left-right combination in the 6th. Helenius then beat the referee’s count to get to his feet, but he then staggered across the ring and fell into the ropes and hung there as the referee Jose Guadalupe Garcia halted the fight at 3:08 of the round. Two rounds earlier, Duhaupas had knocked Helenius down with a big shot to the head.

Helenius struggled throughout the fight with the nonstop pressure that the 6’5” Duhaupas was putting on him. While Helenius was landing nice shots as Duhaupas was coming forward, they didn’t have any real effect on the French fighter. Duhaupas simply walked through Helenius’ punches to land his own shots, which weren’t nearly as powerful but they were constant.

More than anything, Duhaupas was forcing Helenius to work hard in each round and take a lot of shots. Helenius hadn’t been accustomed to getting hit a lot in his past fights because he’d always been much bigger than his shorter opponents. But against the 6’5” Duhaupas, there wasn’t enough of a size advantage for Helenius to keep him out of harm’s way.

Helenius, 32, now has nothing to show for his eight years as a pro in the sport. He’d been slow brought up to this level, and then he couldn’t make it past Duhaupas, who should have been a winnable fight for Helenius if he’d been able to handle the fast pace of the fight.

Duhaupas fought WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder last year in September 2015 and was stopped in the 11th round. Deontay threw a lot of heavy shots, and Duhaupas was able to take them all. However, the referee had to step in to stop the fight in the 11th round to protect Duhaupas, because he was starting to take a real beating. Helenius wasn’t able to fight at as fast a pace as Wilder. Instead of focusing on throwing a lot of constant punches tonight, Helenius kept trying to take Duhaupas out with single punches that he was loading up on. That’s not the correct approach to use to beat Duhaupas. His chin is too good to be taken out with single shots. Helenius needed a high work rate to get a knockout in this fight if that was his goal, and he didn’t have the engine to fight at a pace like that.

Duhaupas showed tonight that he’s a very good heavyweight. His chin enables him to hang in there with the top heavyweights, and then punish them with his shots. I don’t know if Duhaupas has the ability to beat guys like Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz or Anthony Joshua, but he’s got the size to create a lot of problems for most of the other top heavyweights in the division. He would be a problem for Alexander Povetkin and Kubrat Pulev. Duhaupas should get a big push up the rankings with this victory. By winning the WBC Silver heavyweight title, it means that Duhaupas will be getting ranked higher with the WBC. A rematch against Deontay could very well happen in the near future for Duhaupas if he can get two or three more solid wins under his belt.

Helenius needs to hit the reset button on his career and start over. He needs to work on his stamina in a big way, and he also needs to learn how to throw more punches. Helenius was loading up too much tonight with all of his shots, and you can’t fight like that in the heavyweight division against every opponent you face. Helenius needed a better game plan for the Duhaupas fight because he wasn’t going to be able to beat a fighter with a chin like him by loading up on his shots. Helenius was being out-punched by Duhaupas, and he showed that he doesn’t have the chin to fight that kind of way. If Helenius couldn’t increase his work rate, then he should have been looking to tie Duhaupas up at every chance he could get to slow his punch output down.

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