As had been rumored and reported, Deontay Wilder is now officially set to face Robert Helenius in the main event of a PBC on FOX pay-per-view on Saturday, Oct. 15, live from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
Wilder (42-2-1, 41 KO) has not fought since his Oct. 2021 trilogy bout loss to Tyson Fury, an instant heavyweight classic that saw Wilder stopped in the 11th round. He’d been down in the third, 10th, and 11th rounds, and also dropped Fury twice in the fourth round.
It was his second straight loss, both coming by stoppage against Fury. His last win came in 2019, when he stopped Luis Ortiz in the seventh round of their rematch.
Now 36, the “Bronze Bomber” will likely look to position himself to regain his old WBC if and when Fury actually vacates to go along with his 19 retirements. You might wonder if this fight itself could be for the vacant WBC title, but while not impossible — the WBC and all sanctioning bodies can do what they want — it seems unlikely. Wilder is the No. 1-ranked contender, but the 38-year-old Helenius is only ranked No. 10.
Helenius (31-3, 20 KO) is coming off of two straight TKO wins over Adam Kownacki that have given his career new life. The Finnish heavyweight is a plenty capable enough veteran and hard enough puncher that if Wilder just isn’t right or doesn’t have it anymore, he’s certainly dangerous, but if Wilder is even the fighter we saw a year ago, he’ll deserve to be the clear favorite.
The card will also feature a WBC super middleweight eliminator between Caleb Plant (21-1, 12 KO) and Anthony Dirrell (34-2-2, 25 KO), I suppose because it’s been a couple of years since the WBC had Dirrell involved with their 168 lb title, and they thought another round of that was due.
Plant, 30, hasn’t fought since being stopped by Canelo Alvarez in Nov. 2021, ending an underwhelming IBF title reign that began in 2019 and never got any better than where it started. Dirrell, 37, looked lousy in an early 2021 draw with Kyrone Davis, which followed a battering loss to David Benavidez in 2019. In his last bout, he stopped Marcos Hernandez inside of four rounds, which came on the Canelo-Plant undercard.
Canelo, of course, still holds all four 168 lb titles, but could scatter those even if he retains on Sept. 17 against Gennadiy Golovkin. The WBC’s interim title is currently held by David Benavidez, who has not yet managed to lose it without losing a fight.