Robert Helenius had more trouble than was anticipated today in Germany, but in the end his stamina and power proved to be too much, as he rallied in the eighth and ninth rounds to finish off a very game Sergei Liakhovich.
Helenius (16-0, 11 KO) struggled through the first seven rounds, and Bad Left Hook had Liakhovich (25-4, 16 KO) up on our card at that point, 68-65. He was able to outbox the bigger man, while taking some punishment himself, and the fight had a nice rhythm and some pretty strong action. That favored Liakhovich.
But in the eighth round, Helenius started getting closer and closer to timing the veteran, and eventually he did. Late in the round, a flurry from Helenius put Liakhovich on the canvas. Liakhovich got up, and the round ended, but he didn't have much more left.
To start the ninth, Liakhovich came at Helenius, and then found himself on the end of a brutal uppercut, part of a great finishing combination from Helenius that kept the big Finn undefeated.
Helenius, 27, is never going to win awards for how pretty he fights. His victories over Samuel Peter and Liakhovich have been pretty similar, as he had some trouble with both but in the end was able to outlast them and beat them down.
I thought this was a hell of a good fight, a good sight better than the Povetkin vs Chagaev clash (which wasn't too bad itself), and while he showed his flaws and his rawness, Helenius made good with his ability to finish and to stay in a fight that wasn't easy. I think that's something that a lot of heavyweights lack right now. Is Helenius a truly great prospect? No, but he's pretty enjoyable to watch and he comes to fight. And I'd love to see Liakhovich, at 35, get more active. He can still fight and this was his best performance in years.
Thanks for joining us this afternoon for our live coverage. Next weekend starts an action-packed fall lineup as the summer days wind down.