Hundreds of people are showing support on social media for Finnish heavyweight boxer Robert Helenius (29-3, 18 KOs) before his fight to take place against his Polish-born and Brooklyn native opponent Adam Kownacki (20-0, 15 KOs) in Brooklyn, New York, on Sunday morning.
“I am with you with all my heart,” says one of the commentators.
“Be strong. Be best. Be champion,” another commentator advises.
If Helenius wins, he will qualify as one of the top contenders to take on a heavyweight championship title fight.
“I have been training for this fight like a madman. I’m going to show everybody that I belong to the elite,” Helenius says in a statement released on Saturday.
Judging from the pictures and a video of the press conference last week, Helenius appears to be physically in great shape.
Kownacki and Helenius seem to share similar gentlemen traits, but they notably differ in height and fighting style.
Helenius 2.0 in 2020 is light on his feet, conditioned in the sea air of Åland Islands and in the heat of Alabama with the team of the former heavyweight champion, Deontay Wilder; prepared for this bout by sparring with UK’s Nathan Gorman, a shorter forward-pushing fighter with fierce hooks—an opponent much like Kownacki—and while adjusting to the time difference in the States by sparring with a tall pugilist with heavy fists, Robert Alfonso.
Interestingly, Kownacki’s fighting style is something that Helenius has been preparing for since he was a teenager under the tuition of his father, Karl, an old seaman and boxer.
“When Robert was a child, it was one of my first boxing lessons to teach him to dig in a hook and move away from the attacker,” Karl Helenius said in an interview with Finland Today. “I hope that he has the patience to do so in the fight as well.”
The fight takes place in Barclays Center, in the deep end of Brooklyn, a famous home playground for NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, in a venue that houses 16,000 seats and is Kownacki’s home stage where he fights for the 10th time. In fact, Kownacki hasn’t fought outside the US borders in his whole professional career.
Last July, when Helenius fought in the US for the first time he lost against a higher-ranked fighter Gerald Washington. When Kownacki faced Washington in Barclays Center earlier in January 2019, Kownacki won by a knockout in the second round.
Helenius’ loss was a sad knockout after a leading position in the eighth round, which he later attributed to getting too comfortable and in result careless in maintaining the guard, and in result ended up taking a pissed-off 13-hour flight back to the Åland Islands; back to the drawing board.
The following mental preparation and hard training earned Helenius a knockout in the second round against Brazilian opponent Mateus Roberto Osorio in Narva, Estonia in last November.
“The next fight is going to be in the US,” Helenius told Finland Today after the fight. “That’s where we are aiming to go.”
On Saturday, that’s where he is. That’s where he’s been for the past few weeks, training, with not much time for sightseeing except for an occasional glimpse at the Empire State Building while posing for victory in photos in front of it.
“I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t believe in myself anymore,” Helenius said in an interview with Fight Sports TV, an online broadcaster that will air the fight on Sunday morning. “Kownacki has never lost, so this is going to be a new experience for him.”
“This is one of my last chances to reach my goals. I have boxed 22 years for this, and it’s a long time to take hits,” Helenius said.
How to watch the fight: https://www.fightsports.tv/nordic-region-how-to-watch-kownacki-helenius/
The event is scheduled to begin at 03:00 on Sunday in Finnish time (20:00 Eastern Time / ET).