Robert Helenius’ longtime trainer doesn’t expect his fighter to encounter a discernibly different Adam Kownacki on October 9 in Las Vegas.
Kownacki concentrated on improving defensively during multiple training camps for a 12-round rematch that has been pushed back several times. Once Helenius hits him with flush punches, though, Johan Lindstrom thinks Kownacki will rely on a style that has been fan-friendly yet reckless for the heavyweight contender.
Kownacki’s defensive flaws cost him against Helenius in March 2020. He appeared well on his way to winning inside the distance through three rounds, but a resilient Helenius withstood Kownacki’s attack, dropped him during the fourth round and won by fourth-round technical knockout at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Kownacki’s home borough.
The 32-year-old Kownacki (20-1, 15 KOs) will attempt to avenge that devastating defeat to Helenius (30-3, 19 KOs) on the pay-per-view portion of the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder undercard at T-Mobile Arena.
“I think it’s natural that he has to change something because he lost,” Lindstrom told BoxingScene.com. “But I don’t really think that he can change that much from one fight to another. You know, training for it is one thing. But you know, as soon as he gets punched in the face, he’s probably gonna fall into the same old Kownacki again. So, I think that he will try to be more of himself, like do more of what he did the last time, but he’ll be in better shape and come even harder.
“That’s what I think, but he’s thinking probably something different. But from all the years of boxing I’ve seen, you don’t change that much from fight to fight. Usually, it’s more like the technical setup, what you’re gonna do in what round, than you can change the boxer and how he boxes. But let’s see. We’re preparing for whatever he brings, so if he changes something up, we will, too.”
Finland’s Helenius changed their first fight when his left-right combination knocked Kownacki to one knee only 20 seconds into the fourth round. Referee David Fields missed Helenius’ punches, though, and didn’t count that sequence as a knockdown.
Kownacki was disoriented when he reached his feet and couldn’t stay upright much longer.
A right-left combination by Helenius sent Kownacki flat on his back just 10 seconds after he went down the first time. Kownacki courageously reached his feet again, only to have Helenius unleash an array of flush shots on him.
Fields stopped the action 1:08 into the fourth round, with a defenseless Kownacki backed into the ropes.
“It was great in every way,” Lindstrom said of Helenius’ win. “To come in as the underdog, in his backyard, beating him like that was fabulous. Robert really showed what he has when he’s healthy and when everything’s working for him, he’s really an elite heavyweight boxer.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.