By Keith Idec
Dillian Whyte overcame some troublesome moments early to beat Robert Helenius rather easily Saturday night.
Whyte was buzzed in the second round, but the London-based heavyweight contender bounced back to out-work a reluctant Helenius and won a 12-round unanimous decision on the Anthony Joshua-Carlos Takam undercard at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
Whyte won by big margins on all three scorecards (119-109, 119-109, 118-110).
The 6-feet-6, 248½-pound Helenius appeared disinterested and tired over most of the final 10 rounds. The Jamaican-born Whyte (22-1, 16 KOs) was in control for most of their boring bout, but didn’t appear to hurt Helenius (25-2, 16 KOs) badly at any point and seemed content to win by decision.
The unremarkable win was Whyte’s second straight since his taxing, split-decision defeat of Dereck Chisora on December 10 in Manchester, England. Before Saturday night, Finland’s Helenius had won three fights in a row after France’s Johann Duhaupas knocked him out in the sixth round of their April 2016 bout in Helsinki, Finland.
The 6-feet-4, 247½-pound Whyte hopes his victory Saturday night lands him a fight against WBC champion Deontay Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs).
The 29-year-old Whyte is ranked No. 3 by the WBC and won the vacant WBC silver heavyweight title by beating Helenius. The top spot in the WBC’s heavyweight rankings is unoccupied.
Wilder, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, will make a mandatory defense of his championship in a rematch with former champion Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs) on November 4 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Whereas Whyte looked sloppy in the first two rounds, Helenius appeared to be tired by the fifth round. Whyte landed a hard left uppercut with a little more than two minutes to go in the fifth, yet not much thereafter that affected Helenius.
Whyte overcame some serious trouble in the second round by landing several heavy shots in third round, when Helenius mostly moved backward. Helenius wobbled Whyte with a right hand in the second round, though it wasn’t at all an indication of what was to come for the remainder of their fight.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.