Robert Helenius returned to action for the first time since December 2011 today, beating Sherman "The Tank" Williams over 10 rounds in Helsinki, Finland, but it was a sluggish, rusty effort, and one that didn't impress.
Helenius (18-0-1, 11 KO) won on scores of 99-91, 99-93 and 98-93, which were all fair enough. BLH scored it 99-91 for Helenius, who was buzzed on a right hand from Williams in the sixth round, but otherwise did enough to win the rounds.
The 28-year-old "Nordic Nightmare" could have plenty of reasons for such a lackluster performance today. The rust, of course, from sitting out for a year. The fact that the shoulder injury was a big deal, and may have been more of a problem today than he wanted to let on. Perhaps he just wasn't quite back to 100%. And he clearly wasn't in top condition overall.
But without meaning to write him off based on a performance that itself could be easily written off if he looks better next time out, this looked sort of like a 50-year-old version of the man who was so offensively impressive against the likes of Samuel Peter and Siarhei Liakhovich. Neither of those wins were world-stoppers or anything of the sort, but the upside in Helenius seemed to be there. In his last two fights, it just hasn't been.
Still, he's young enough that he can get himself in shape, get active again, and come back from this without a lot of trouble, probably. He's a big, powerful guy at his best, who has some ability. He was probably as bad as he's ever been today, and still overcame a tough old pro who doesn't roll over and let opponents just win. There's definitely a lot Helenius needs to improve from this fight, but it's unclear how much today will mean going forward.