By Johnny Walker
When Finland’s Robert “The Nordic Nightmare” Helenius won a split decision victory over the UK’s Dereck “Del Boy” Chisora in his last bout and looked relatively unimpressive while doing so (most thought Chisora deserved the win), boxing’s naysayers and doubters immediately began questioning whether Helenius was as good as his recent record (including knockouts of three former world title holders) indicated.
The predictable cries of Helenius being a “bum” and a “hype job” were easily found after the Chisora fight on any boxing forum you can name.
Those naysaying types may be a bit red-faced now to learn that European Heavyweight Champion Helenius not only fought Chisora – a good heavyweight who simply wasn’t up to par against his previous opponent, Tyson Fury – with a bad hand, but also a bum shoulder.
According to news reports, in the worst-case scenario, Helenius’s boxing career may now be over.
Helenius’s father Karl is quoted today saying in the Helsingen Sanomat saying that his son’s shoulder injury revealed itself six weeks prior to the fight with Chisora, and that the fight taking place when it did was a “major cock-up.”
Karl Helenius also blames trainer Ulli Wegner of Sauerland sports for pushing his son to fight Chisora even after the shoulder injury became an issue.
A fall while running saw Helenius snap a ligament in his right shoulder, with subsequent damage to two other ligaments and collarbone as the injury worsened.
Helenius also suffered an injury to the knuckles of his right fist early in the Chisora fight. Little wonder, then, that the fighter did not possess his usual devastating knockout power that night.
Helenius is set to have corrective surgery on his shoulder on Thursday in Heidelberg, Germany. The prognosis for a full recovery is up to six months of rest and rehabilitation. And even then, there are no guarantees. Will Helenius still possess his trademark “heavy hands” when he recuperates? No one knows for sure.
Helenius tells the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE that the prognosis was “pretty heavy news,” yet he affirmed his desire to get back in the ring as soon as he is able. But that will likely not be soon enough to avoid being stripped of his title for being unable to make a mandatory defense against Alexander “Sascha” Dimitrenko.
“I don’t care if I lose the title as long as I get my shoulder sorted out”, Helenius said.
Amen to that. And good luck to Robert Helenius.