By JOHNNY WALKER
Robert “The Nordic Nightmare” Helenius moved into heavyweight title contention today with a ninth round knockout of one of the division’s top names of the last few years, former WBC heavyweight champion Samuel “The Nigerian Nightmare” Peter, at Gerry Weber Stadium in Halle, Germany.
Helenius (15-0-0) was cautious throughout the first few rounds as Peter (34-5-0) pressed the attack, staving off the Nigerian, who fights out of Las Vegas, California, with a nasty left jab.
In round five, Peter, who weighed in at 260 pounds, his second highest weight as a professional fighter, appeared to momentarily stun the giant (6’6 ½ “) native of Finland with a hard left hook on the ear, but Helenius was able to right the ship and even respond with a hard right to Peter’s body as the round came to a close.
Round six saw some good action as both men traded hard shots. Peter’s eyes now began to swell from the constant rat-a-tat-tat of left jabs from the Finn, but he continued to stalk the backpedaling Helenius, landing a hard right followed by a very low left, a blow that had Helenius grimacing In pain as referee Dave Parris warned Peter to cut out the rough tactics.
Picture Credit: Photo Wende
Peter was tiring in rounds seven and eight, and began trying to land a big bomb to end the fight. Helenius, however, made Peter pay every time he tried to get in KO range by peppering his face with more left jabs.
Before round nine, Helenius’s coach Ulli Wegner admonished Helenius in German, gesturing with his right hand and apparently telling his fighter to “make like a Klitschko” and knock Peter out.
The message from Wegner was received loud and clear. Helenius immediately took the offensive in round nine, trying to follow a left jab with a vicious straight right in the style of Wladimir Klitschko, and just missing. Undeterred, Helenius kept pressing, finally dropping Peter with a short left hook that found the Nigerian’s chin.
Peter managed to beat the count, but Helenius was intent on closing the show. A hard right hand followed by a crushing left hook sent Peter to the mat, knocked out cold.
With the victory, Helenius adds the WBA inter-continental heavyweight title to his WBO intercontinental heavyweight strap.
At the young (for today’s heavyweight division) age of 27, Robert Helenius is now a man to be reckoned with, man whose natural gifts of great size and very heavy hands — which caused previous victim Lamon Brewster to claim Helenius used loaded gloves – make him a danger to any heavyweight alive.
Although WBC Champion Vitali Klitschko is rumored to be fighting former WBO champ Sergei Liakhovich in June, it is Helenius who appears to be the more deserving challenger, and the fighter whose power would force Klitschko to respect him.