By Johnny Walker
Dereck “Del Boy” Chisora and Robert “The Nordic Nightmare” Helenius put on one of the most exciting heavyweight battles in recent memory today at the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland. When the smoke cleared, Helenius emerged as the winner of the vacant EBU heavyweight title in a split decision–but in no way could anyone even remotely objective say that Dereck Chisora was a loser on this night.
Those who were predicting a wipeout win for the rising heavyweight star Helenius received a shock, as “Del Boy,” almost 20 pounds lighter than he was when losing his British and Commonwealth titles to Tyson Fury earlier this year, came out on fire and took the fight to the Finnish hero for most of the night.
The 6’1″ Chisora (16-2, 9 KOs) pressured the 6’6” Helenius (17-0, 11 KOs), all night, pounding him with body shots and getting in close, crowding the Finn and making it hard for him to fully tee off with his trademark power shots. Ironically, if it was this version of Chisora who was previously lined up to fight world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, the champ can count himself fortunate that he eventually fought Del Boy’s countryman David Haye instead, as Chisora’s strategy was the perfect one against a much taller, powerful opponent.
To be sure, Helenius–who later said that he broke his right hand in round one–got in his licks, and there was some great back and forth action throughout the bout, with both men standing and trading bombs, as they did in a thrilling round six. But it was Chisora who was getting the better of many exchanges, and the Finn seemed to lack energy at times, as the continual pressure from Del Boy wore him down. Chisora’s commitment to a “downstairs-upstairs” strategy—hard body shots followed by headhunting—had Helenius off balance for much of the night.
When the fight was over, Helenius was declared the winner via two scores of 115-113, with one judge seeing Chisora on top by the same 115-113 score. Boxing Insider had it 115-114 for Chisora, who surely deserves a rematch, just as fans of heavyweight boxing deserve to see another fight as exciting as this one was.
Also on the bill, WBA “Regular” heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin (23-0, 16 KOs) successfully made his first title defense as he methodically broke down veteran American heavyweight Cedric Boswell (35-2, 26 KOs), and knocked him out at 2:58 of the eighth round.
With the exception of a lethargic round three, Povetkin was in charge, utilizing an accurate left hook that repeatedly scored on his opponent’s face. Povetkin also demonstrated more power than many of his critics anticipated, rocking the American with hard uppercuts and brutal body shots in rounds six and seven, as Boswell reeled around the ring on rubbery legs.
Following the fight, Povetkin’s trainer Teddy Atlas said there would be “a couple of fights before we take on the Klitschkos.”