Kownacki stopped by Helenius, wants REMATCH
By Matt Lieberman: Adam Kownacki (20-1, 15 KOs) fought the wrong fight and paid dearly for it by losing to the powerful Robert ‘Nordic Nightmare’ Helenius (30-3, 19 KOs) in a shocking 4th round knockout on Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The loss is even more painful for Kownacki, as the fight was a WBA heavyweight title eliminator. Helenius is now the mandatory to the highly popular British heavyweight Anthony Joshua.
Sadly, Kownacki wants to run it back with Helenius for a second fight, which isn’t surprising given what would be at stake. But it’s unlikely that Helenius will take another risky fight against him now that he’s the WBA mandatory for Joshua. Why would he? The odds of Helenius giving Kownacki a rematch are remote to the extreme.
Helenius has already earned the spot to face Joshua, so facing Kownacki again makes little sense. The fight was a WBA title eliminator, and of course, there would be no rematch clause.
“I wanted to keep fighting, of course. I wanted to go down swinging,” said Kownacki after his loss to Helenius on Saturday night. “He caught me with a good shot, and I was in trouble. He did what was best for me. It’s boxing. You’ve got to protect yourself at all times.
“One moment you’re not being cautious and you get caught with a big shot, and the fight changed, especially in the heavyweight division,” said Kownacki. “But it was a learning lesson. I’m still young, and I’m still beautiful. So I’ll be back. There’s no rematch clause, but hopefully, we can make it again. I don’t want to go out like this,” said Kownacki.
Kownacki, 30, fought too aggressively against a fighter that is known for being a tremendous puncher early on in his fights in 36-year-old Helenius. In the fourth, Kownacki went for the kill after trapping Helenius against the ropes, and he walked into two shots that hurt him beyond the point of no return.
Helenius knocked Kownacki down a few seconds later. The smart thing for Kownacki to have done would have been to hold after he got up, but he chose to fight.
You can’t blame Kownacki for choosing to continue to throw punches, because his chin had never failed him in the past. It certainly did this time, as Helenius unloaded a storm of shots that left the referee Dave Fields with no choice but to stop the fight.
The way that Kownacki threw his last shot before the stoppage made it clear it needed to be halted. Kownacki looked badly hurt and defenseless. Helenius is a big puncher, and he had Kownacki where he wanted at the moment the fight was stopped.
In the past, Helenius had lost to Dillian Whyte and Gerald Washington by knockout. He was considered past at 36, and perhaps that may have given Kownacki a false sense of confidence believing that he was fighting an old man that had been stopped already. Washington isn’t a great fighter, so it looks bad that Helenius was knocked out in the 8th round by him last July.
“It’s a learning experience, right? For me, it’s sports,” said Kownacki. “It sucks but it comes with the territory. I should have maybe grabbed him and survived. It’s the heavyweight division. One punch means everything, and I got caught with a good shot,” said Kownacki
After this fight, Kownacki will make sure he grabs his opponents after he’s hurt, but he wasn’t ready to do that tonight. He’d never been hurt before by anyone in his 11-year professional career. Part of the reason for that is Kownacki had never faced a big puncher until tonight.
The closest thing that Kownacki had come to facing a big puncher was in his last fight against Chris Arreola last August. Kownacki won that fight, but Arreola threw an incredible 1125 punches during the contest. While not all of them landed, Arreola still did a lot of damage with the shots he did land.
“I want to prove that I’m the best. A lot of great fighters lose and come back. Great fighters lose and came back, and I’m going to do the same,” said Kownacki.
It would be a miracle if Kownacki gets an immediate rematch with Helenius. Why would he give Kownacki a rematch? By doing that, Helenius would be fighting two WBA title eliminators instead of just one. However, Helenius isn’t going to get an immediate title shot against WBA champion Anthony Joshua.
At best, Helenius may fight for the title in 2021. At worse, he might need to wait until 2022. Unless Kownacki just wants to play it safe fighting weak opposition, he’s going to need to continue to fight top contenders to attract boxing fans to want to watch his fights. As we saw in Helenius’ loss to Gerald Washington last year, he can be beaten by even lesser heavyweights on a bad night.
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