Robert Helenius Demands Heavyweight Title Shot, Claims WBA “Bungled” His Chances
By John “Gutterdandy” Walker
Finland’s Robert Helenius provided one of heavyweight boxing’s highlights of 2021 when he destroyed the heavily hyped Adam Kownacki for the second time in two fights on the undercard of the final bout in the Fury vs Wilder trilogy in Las Vegas.
“The Nordic Nightmare” had already stopped Kownacki in round four of their first encounter in 2020, in a bout that Kownacki supporters deemed a mistake, one they claimed their man would rectify in a rematch. Helenius (31-3, 20 KOs), however, showed he was truly back in terrifying form, after a long spell of mediocre results following a severe shoulder injury, when he busted up the Polish born fighter in the rematch, breaking his left orbital bone on the way to a sixth round TKO win.
For his efforts, Helenius was presented with a “gold belt” by the WBA.
His second destruction of Kownacki was a truly impressive performance, and now Helenius is waiting to prove himself once again. And at age 38, he is growing anxious to get back in the ring sooner rather than later.
However, the static nature of the current heavyweight division in 2022, with its endless rematches and long, tedious spells between title fights, is now working against the Finnish brawler.
Having waited long enough, Helenius is now speaking out. In a recent interview with Sky Sports, the Finn expressed his impatience, saying that he should rightfully be next in line for a title shot against the winner of the upcoming title rematch between current champion Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine and former titleholder Anthony Joshua of the UK.
Helenius says the WBA has mishandled his situation.
“I definitely should be next,” Helenius told Sky Sports.
“Every elimination bout after mine is bullshit! At this point, if we are not designated the mandatory after Usyk’s next fight, we will have only one option. My lawyers are very confident that the WBA have bungled this whole thing, so I am confident in my position,” Helenius argues.
The Nordic Nightmare has also in recent days been mentioned by promoter Frank Warren and manager Shelly Finkel as a possible opponent for the former WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder in a comeback fight this fall. It was Helenius who sparred with Wilder in the lead-up to the final, brutal match in the latter man’s trilogy with Tyson Fury.
Helenius, however, is keeping his eyes on the prize: a heavyweight title fight that he feels he has earned.
“For now, I will just stay focused on training and see how Usyk versus Joshua and my WBA situation plays out,” Helenius says.
“But I remain in a great position for something very big in the coming months for sure.”
The Fall of the House of Fury Pt. 2: Jake Paul Forces Tommy Fury to Fumble
By John “Gutterdandy” Walker
“Tyson Fury’s afraid to fight Joshua, Tyson Fury’s afraid to fight Usyk….
“This is why boxing is dying, because these fights aren’t mandatory.
“Knocking out a Fury and fucking up their whole boxing legacy would be fun for me.”
—Jake Paul, “YouTube boxer”
If Gypsy John Fury was humiliated after being called out by Mickey Theo over his offer to fight and destroy any man in his 50s, that was nothing compared to what light-heavyweight “YouTube boxer” Jake Paul was preparing to do to the Fury family.
Tommy Fury, a cruiserweight fighter trained by none other than his father “Gypsy John,” became famous in the UK not for his fighting prowess, but for his appearances on reality shows. Unlike both his world champion heavyweight brother Tyson and his father, who are possessed of rather doughy, lumpy physiques, Tommy Fury at least appears to be very physically fit, with tanned, rippling muscles and the kind of looks more akin to a male model than a boxer.
As the Furys’ rose to fame during Tyson’s wins over Deontay Wilder, and the family became ever more confident of their place at the top of the boxing game, Tommy and Gypsy John made a decision that would come back to haunt them: they would get involved with rising American “YouTube boxer” Jake Paul and agree to a fight with him.
Tommy, after all, had been boxing since he was a young lad, and this American interloper, who was already making a fortune knocking out MMA stars and even ex-NBA basketball players on USA pay-per-views, offended the Furys’ boxing purist sensibilities. But while Tommy (and even more so Gypsy John) began to loudly and profanely boast about the damage they intended to inflict on Paul in the boxing ring and elsewhere, the American was busy in the gym, honing his craft.
Truth be told, Jake Paul wasn’t a fake boxer who could be taken lightly: he was actually serious about this boxing thing, and was learning quickly. He also saw the Furys as cherry pickers and duckers, people who did far more talking than fighting, and thus a big part of the problem with current professional boxing. He wanted to do damage to their reputations, take them down from the lofty perch from which they threw stones at others. And he wanted Tommy Fury, who to this point had fought very carefully selected opponents, to be his first test against an actual professional boxer.
After an initial ring meeting between Tommy Fury and Jake Paul in 2021 fell through due to an injury to Fury (Paul doubted the story), things got even more heated between the two men. And perhaps unsurprisingly, Tyson Fury, fresh off his second WBC world heavyweight title defense with a TKO stoppage of a curiously lethargic Dillian Whyte and now supposedly “retired from boxing,” also became embroiled in a war of words with Jake Paul.
What ended up taking place was a disastrous defeat for the Fury boxing brand.
First, John Fury, looking worn and haggard, issued a statement on YouTube now saying he wanted nothing to do with any Jake Paul fight — an amazing reversal of his earlier threats. He didn’t really explain why, instead just heaping scorn on the whole idea of “Jake Paul.” Paul immediately upped the pressure, saying Tommy was ducking him, and renaming him “Tommy Fumbles” (alternately “Timmy Fumbles”), a moniker which quickly started trending on Twitter. Tommy then took the bait, agreeing to fight Jake Paul at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan on August 6. Tommy would reportedly make a career-high $2 million for this bout.
Jake Paul even managed to rope in the supposed master of boxing mind games, Tyson Fury, prodding him to agree to bet a million dollars on his brother. By doing so, of course, Tyson was–purposely perhaps–heaping even more pressure on his half-brother to live up to his vow to destroy the upstart American. And given Tommy’s mediocre recent performances in the ring, many boxing fans were now starting to favor Jake Paul to prevail in their bout.
The rest is history: the pressure mounting, with a press conference for the fight in NYC now ready to proceed, Tommy Fury, who had been in the USA recently on holiday, suddenly found that he couldn’t get on a plane bound for the USA. No specific reason for this was given, and social media “influencer” Tommy then went AWOL for a week (in social media circles, a seeming eternity). A career-high, $2 million payday for Tommy was now quickly slipping away.
Fury’s promoter Frank Warren then gave some ill-advised, sheepish interviews, his eyes darting all over the place as he found himself unable to explain exactly why his charge Tommy couldn’t fight Jake Paul. “He needs to get to the Embassy and sort things out,” an uncomfortable Warren explained, seemingly trying to get a message to his missing fighter via the media. But this only further muddied the waters. Tommy Fury remained silent.
The fight of course fell through, with an exasperated Jake Paul, the historic MSG venue booked, turning to Hasim Rahman Jr., arguably a tougher challenge than Tommy Fury, as his next opponent. Paul revealed that Tyson Fury had refused to put the money for their million dollar bet in escrow, the WBC heavyweight world champion perhaps already knowing that this fight was never going to happen anyway.
To top things off, Gypsy John Fury then blurted out a message saying that his son hadn’t been training and was overweight: Tommy was then forced to come out and strongly imply that his own father was a liar. “If it’s not coming from me, don’t believe it,” Tommy said. The implosion of the Furys was complete — they were now turning on each other.
As it turned out, Jake Paul didn’t even need to get in the ring to defeat the Furys.
Oleksandr Usyk vs Joe Joyce In “Preliminary Talks”
By: Hans Themistode
Oleksandr Usyk’s train to a heavyweight world title is apparently about to make an unexpected stop. The former undisputed cruiserweight titlist has long been awaiting his chance at facing unified champion, Anthony Joshua.
With a win in his heavyweight debut against Chazz Witherspoon, Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) followed that up with another victory against fringe contender Dereck Chisora. While both wins may have allowed him to get acclimated to fights against bigger men, considering he became the WBO’s number one ranked contender the moment he moved up in weight, Usyk never needed to face anyone other than Joshua in his first official contest as a heavyweight.
Still, the former Olympic gold medalist appeared on track to challenge Joshua for his world title. However, both Joshua and WBC/Ring magazine belt holder Tyson Fury are on the verge of papering a two-fight deal, according to promoter Eddie Hearn. With the likelihood of Usyk waiting even longer for his shot at a world title, promoter Frank Warren is currently working on something that would placate the impatient big man.
“We’re working on, at the moment, Usyk and Joe Joyce,” said Warren during an interview with IFL TV. “I think the WBO will order that as an interim-title fight so we’re working hard to make that happen. The situation is that the WBO have said they’d like to do that fight as an eliminator. We have no objection to that and I don’t think Usyk has either. There’s been some preliminary talks and we’ll see where we go from there.”
Joyce, a 2016 Olympic Silver medalist, is currently riding the high associated with the biggest win of his pro career. On November 28th, just last year, Joyce handed highly-touted previously undefeated prospect Daniel Dubois the first defeat of his career via 10th round stoppage.
Despite the win, along with the success he’s obtained during his short career, Joyce (12-0, 11 KOs) still has an ax to grind with Usyk. In January of 2013, before either man turned professional, they faced off at the World Series of Boxing. On the night, Usyk dominated his man winning every single round.
Regardless of their previous outcome, Warren views Joyce as a completely different fighter. In addition to that, the long time promoter believes the British native has all of the momentum in the world.
“It’s a good fight and based on his last performance, Joe’s looking really good. It puts the winner in a tremendous position. The eventual winner of the two fights between Tyson and AJ will have to defend against Joyce or Usyk, or vacate the belt.”
Frank Warren’s Open Letter To WBC Head Jose Sulaiman
In the wake of a statement issued by WBC president Jose Sulaiman, in which British fighter Dereck “Del Boy” Chisora was indefinitely banned from fighting and asked to submit to anger management therapy, boxing promoter Frank Warren has published an open letter in SunSport to state his views on the matter:
I wish I could accuse you of having double standards. But I can’t, because I question whether you have any standards at all.
The way you have banned Dereck Chisora indefinitely, without even having the decency to call a hearing to establish the facts surrounding his recent bout against Vitali Klitschko, in my opinion shows you as a posturing, self-righteous egotist.
I learned of your decision through the media. You didn’t even let the British Boxing Board of Control, myself or Dereck know before you spoke to the world’s Press.
In any democracy, any man is innocent until proven guilty. But you appear to have set yourself up as judge, jury and executioner as far as Dereck is concerned.
You have announced an indefinite WBC ban on Dereck without a hearing and you have also said you will impose a ‘serious’ fine after you eventually do hold a hearing.
Again, you have found Chisora guilty without establishing any fact about what truly went on that night in Munich.
Not for one minute am I condoning what happened before the fight or with David Haye at the Press conference after the bout. I also believe boxing needs to discipline boxers who step out of line.
But I am staggered by how you have treated Dereck before you have heard any evidence from his side. It seems to me this is just a matter of convenience for your organisation.
Let me remind you how your organisation has dealt with other instances of indiscipline by boxers who wave the WBC flag.
Antonio Margarito was banned for a year by the California State Athletic Commission following the controversy over his hand wraps in the fight against Shane Mosley. He was accused of using some kind of plaster to make the bandages harder.
Without any WBC hearing, Margarito was then allowed to fight for a minor title in Mexico and made top contender to fight Manny Pacquiao.
Take Floyd Mayweather Jnr’s case, after he was found guilty of physically abusing a girlfriend.
You said the WBC should not touch Mayweather’s career or title as you wanted him to fight Manny Pacquiao.
I would like to remind you of the time you were injured in the brawl that took place between Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson, when Tyson disgustingly bit Lewis during the Press conference prior to their fight.
You didn’t call for a ban and rang me asking if you should sue those who hosted the conference and broadcast the fight because of the lack of security.
That is one of my issues with the events in Munich. But you don’t seem interested in what actually happened.
If Dereck Chisora was a world champion, would you be taking this stance?