Robert Helenius isn’t contractually obligated to give Adam Kownacki a rematch.
Frankly, the veteran heavyweight doesn’t think Kownacki even really wants a second shot at him. Finland’s Helenius dropped the significantly favored Kownacki twice and stopped the popular Polish contender in the fourth round of a fight FOX televised March 7 from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“I don’t know why he would want to fight me again after what I did to him,” Helenius told BoxingScene.com. “He may say that he wants to fight me again, but deep inside, I don’t think so.”
The 36-year-old Helenius knows what Kownacki is feeling a month after suffering his first professional setback. Helenius has lost three times, including two knockout defeats to France’s Johann Duhaupas and American Gerald Washington, whom Kownacki knocked out in the second round two bouts before Helenius upset him.
“It’s a new experience for him,” Helenius said. “He had never lost. I’ve been there, on the losing side, as well. So, I know it’s a hard feeling to come out of and continue doing what you do.”
The 6-feet-6, 238-pound Helenius (30-3, 19 KOs) believes a rematch with Kownacki, immediate or otherwise, would produce a result similar to their first fight.
“He has a style that I’m very familiar with,” Helenius said. “I’ve been boxing guys like that my whole life. So, I felt at home. I like a fighter that pushes me.”
Helenius won the WBA’s gold championship by beating Brooklyn’s Kownacki (20-1, 15 KOs), which should guarantee him a shot at one of the WBA’s heavyweight titles.
England’s Anthony Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) is the WBA’s “super” heavyweight champion. Germany’s Manuel Charr (31-4, 17 KOs) is its world champion and American Trevor Bryan (20-0, 14 KOs) owns the WBA’s interim title, but Charr hasn’t fought since November 2017 and Bryan hasn’t boxed since August 2018.
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed Helenius’ plans on hold. For now, the reinvigorated contender is enjoying the aftermath of his career-changing victory over Kownacki, whom Helenius sensed realized their fight would be different than Kowancki expected almost immediately.
“I think he felt it from round one, because I hit him really hard in the stomach,” Helenius said. “I could feel his ribs through the gloves, and I knew nobody could take that kind of punishment. And every time he was coming forward, I wasn’t in any distress. For me, I didn’t feel that he punched very hard. Like I was saying before the fight, I didn’t feel he has a really, really heavy punch. Of course, any heavyweight can knock anybody out. But he’s a volume puncher and he’s an aggressive guy who comes forward.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.