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Whyte vs. Helenius preview

Robert Helenius


By Jim Dower: Dillian Whyte (21-1, 16 KOs) will be looking to set himself up for a world title shot in his fight tonight against the towering 6’6 ½” Robert “Nordic Nightmare” Helenius (25-1, 16 KOs) at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

WBC Silver heavyweight title will be up for grabs in the Whyte-Helenius fight, and I imagine the WBC mandatory position for the No.1 spot against WBC champion Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder. This is a great opportunity for the 29-year-old Whyte if he can get past Helenius tonight. It won’t be easy, but Whyte is the favorite in this fight due to his youth, power and activity level. Helenius is far from old at 33, but he’s seen better days in his boxing career.

Things haven’t looked the same for the Swedish heavyweight since his fight with Dereck Chisora in 2011. He’s had injury problems, and he’s not been able to regain the form that he had going into that contest.

Whyte-Helenius is the co-feature bout on the Anthony Joshua vs. Carlos Takam fight card on Sky Box Office pay-per-view.

“My priority is to make Whyte vs Deontay Wilder in February,” Whyte’s promoter Eddie Hearn said to skysports.com.


Hearn’s dogged persistence at making the Wilder-Whyte fight seems to have caused Wilder to perk up interest in that fight. Wilder initially had no desire to get inside the ring with Hearn, but the British promoter Hearn’s insistence at making the fight now has the Bronze Bomber considering taking the fight. Hearn is said to have sweetened his initial offer of $3 million for Wilder to take the fight with Whyte. The new offer is said to be in the $4 million range. Hearn wants Wilder to take the fight so that the winner of the Wilder-Whyte fight will make for a much more lucrative fight against Joshua in 2018. Hearn is trying to set it up to where whoever emerges as the winner of the Wilder vs. Whyte fight will make for a tremendous fight against Joshua on Sky Box Office.

“I have no problems fighting [Whyte],” said Wilder to skysports.com.

Wilder has a title defense against his mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne to get past on November 4 before he can talk with Hearn about fighting Whyte. If Wilder loses to Stiverne, then Hearn will need to offer a deal for him to fight Whyte on February 3 at the O2 Arena in London, UK. That obviously wouldn’t be nearly as big a fight in the UK than Wilder-Whyte. Hearn will likely still make it though, because it will help build up Whyte if he can win the fight.

Whyte is not a lock to beat Helenius or Wilder. Whyte would be the underdog against Wilder, as he’s bigger, stronger and a lot faster. It would be difficult for Whyte to get to Wilder without eating his best right hand power shots. Since Whyte was hurt several times in his fight last December against Dereck Chisora, it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to take Wilder’s best shots for long without dropping for the 10 count.

Whyte is able to take a lot of punishment in his fights, but he eventually wears down, as we saw in his 7th round knockout loss to Joshua in 2015. Joshua just kept nailing Whyte with big punches until finally he wore down and hit the deck in round 7. The fight was then halted. Wilder has better power than Joshua, so it’s possible that Whyte won’t last nearly as long if he tries to walk him down and force him into a dog fight.

Joshua thinks Whyte will have too much for Helenius to handle in this fight.

”I think Dillian will be too much [for Helenius],” said Joshua to skysports.com.

It’s an easy prediction for Joshua to make in selecting Whyte to defeat Helenius. Just last year, Helenius was knocked out in the 6th round by former heavyweight world title challenger Johann Duhaupas on April 2. Duhaupas isn’t a big puncher, but he still had his way with Helenius in knocking him down twice in the fight in round 4 and 6. Duhaupas is only the second quality fighter that Helenius has fought in the last 6 years.

Helenius’ lack of quality opponents makes it difficult to pick him over Whyte, because he’s not been fighting the cream of the crop in the heavyweight division for some reason. Helenius defeated German heavyweight Franz Rill 2 years ago in a grueling 12 round unanimous decision win on December 19, 2015. Helenius got the win, but it was far from an easy fight for him. Rill was bouncing a lot of big shots off the chin of Helenius throughout the contest. Helenius’ quality and ranginess was the telling factor in him getting the victory. He had the aggressiveness and the power to pound out a 12 round decision over Rill.

Helenius will have a 2 ½” height and 1” reach advantage over the 6’4” Whyte tonight, but that’s no guarantee that he’ll be able to use his size to control the fight. Whyte is the same type of fighter that Chisora is with the way that he pressures his opponents nonstop, forcing them to fight it out in a brawling manner whether they want to or not. Helenius didn’t do well against Chisora in their fight in 2011. Part of the problem that Helenius had was he tore up his right shoulder early on in the fight. But even before Helenius suffered the injury, he was struggling with the pressure that was being put on him by Chisora. Whyte is equally good at pressuring his fighters as Chisora, but he’s a far better body puncher.

Whyte had gone away from his body punching after starting his pro career 2011, knocking guys out with vicious shots to the body. But in Whyte’s last fight against Malcolm Tann on August 19, he wore Tann with shots to the midsection, knocking him down 4 times en route to stopping him in the 3rd round. If Whyte attacks Helenius’ body in the same manner, it can be that kind of a night with another early knockout. Whyte will try to attack Helenius’ body. It’ going to leave Whyte’s head vulnerable to the big uppercuts that Helenius likes to throw. Whyte’s strong chin should help him take the big punches that Helenius lands, and eventually should be able to wear him down.

Prediction

Whyte has got too much power, youth and body punching ability for Helenius at this point. I expect Whyte to work on Helenius’ body early, and stop him by the 6th round. Helenius will get tired from the pressure and body punching from Whyte. He won’t be able to take the body shots for long without hitting the deck. Whyte will still have to take a few monstrous shots from Helenius for him to get the victory. If Helenius lands something on the button in this fight, he can certainly score an upset of Whyte. But I don’t think he’s going to be able to land a big enough punch for him to get Whyte out of there. The main thing that will lead Whyte to victory tonight is his body punching. He hits so hard to the body right now. It just makes him very hard to beat for anyone in the heavyweight division, including Joshua. Whyte might have his number this time around when/if the two heavyweights face each other in 2018.


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