When the Jarrell Miller mess went down last week, PBC heavyweight Adam Kownacki was one of the first names mentioned to replace “Big Baby” against Anthony Joshua on June 1 at Madison Square Garden.
Kownacki is unbeaten (19-0, 15 KO), has an entertaining style, and is popular in the New York area, fighting out of Brooklyn with Polish roots.
But the 30-year-old contender quickly took himself out of the discussion, and there was word that he’s near the head of the line to face WBC titleholder Deontay Wilder, also a PBC fighter, at some point in the relatively near future, though not next.
Kownacki himself said he’d be back in the ring in “mid-summer,” and it looks like we might know his opponent, as Mike Coppinger is reporting that Kownacki will face faded former European champion Robert Helenius in his next outing.
Helenius (28-2, 17 KO) still has an attractive enough looking record, but the 35-year-old from Finland really hasn’t been relevant in quite a long time. After scoring stoppage wins over former world titleholders Lamon Brewster, Samuel Peter, and Siarhei Liakhovich in 2010-2011, the 6’6” “Nordic Nightmare” was looking on the road to world title shots himself.
Then in Dec. 2011, cracks started showing. He won a flat robbery split decision over Dereck Chisora in Helsinki, suffering an arm injury in the bout, and didn’t fight for 11 months, returning against Sherman Williams. He was out another 16 months after that, beating Michael Sprott upon his return. Then he had promotional issues and didn’t fight again until 2015.
By the time he took another serious fight in April 2016, over four years had passed since the bout with Chisora. Helenius was knocked out in the sixth round by Johann Duhaupas, and lost a wide decision to Dillian Whyte in Oct. 2017 in Cardiff. He did knock out Erkan Teper in his last outing, and he does have natural power.
Kownacki was last seen on Jan. 26 in Brooklyn, stopping Gerald Washington in the second round on the Thurman-Lopez card on FOX.