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Saturday Review: Kownacki vs. Helenius

By Robert Ecksel on March 6, 2020


“This is not going to be a fight; it’s going to be a war. I will be the last man standing.”

Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, in a WBA heavyweight title eliminator televised live on FOX and FOX Deportes, heavy-handed Adam Kownacki (20-0, 15 KOs), from Brooklyn by way of Lomza, Poland, will risk his top-10 ranking in all four major sanctioning bodies when he meets WBA #7 ranked Robert Helenius (29-3, 18 KOs), from Mariehamn, Finland, via Stockholm, Sweden.


Fighting before a hometown crowd, the bout will be Kownacki’s 10th at the Barclays Center and his fifth in a row. He won the IBF Inter-Continental heavyweight title with a unanimous decision over Chris Arreola in his memorable last outing, where the two men broke the CompuBox heavyweight record for most punches thrown (2,172) and landed (667). Even a prime Helenius might have had trouble with the battle-scarred but relentless Arreola, but he’s a big man with big plans who sees Saturday’s bout as the opportunity he’s been longing for.


“This is the fight I have been waiting for,” said Helenius. “All of the years of training and fighting will pay off when we fight on March 7. Kownacki is about to feel the strength of Thor’s hammer.


“Adam had a tough fight with Chris Arreola and he’s getting more and more experience. He’s a hungry fighter and I think that’s going to make it a great fight for the fans.


“The jab will be my biggest weapon. I have to use it to set up the hard right behind it. I’m going to stick and move and show off my boxing skills… I can’t let him get too close to me. I’m going to try to control the distance. Every heavyweight hits hard, but I think that Adam is more about volume. I have to be ready for the knockout punch, but he’s more focused on breaking down an opponent and overwhelming them with punches.


“I respect him for taking this fight, but he chose the wrong opponent. This is not going to be a fight; it’s going to be a war. I will be the last man standing,” but not if Kownacki has anything to say about it.


“Right now I’m just focused on Robert Helenius,” said Kownacki. “It’s going to be a tough test and a tall test. His jab is the main thing I’m focused on. If I can get past his jab, I think I’m going to have a lot of success. Robert is in my way and I have to beat him to get where I want. When I get inside, I’m going to punish him and if I get the chance, I’ll be ready to end the fight.”


The co-feature spotlights up-and-coming Efe Ajagba (12-0, 10 KOs) in a 10-round bout against Razvan Cojanu (17-6-1, 9 KOs. The opening bout of the telecast features unbeaten Frank Sanchez (14-0, 11 KOs) against Joey Dawejko (29-7-4, 11 KOs).

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