Deontay Wilder will return to the site of several of his most memorable knockouts to start his comeback.
BoxingScene.com has learned Wilder is likely to box Robert Helenius on October 15 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn in what would be the former WBC heavyweight champion’s first fight in more than a year. Wilder-Helenius is expected to headline a FOX Sports Pay-Per-View show 53 weeks after Wilder suffered an 11th-round knockout loss to Tyson Fury in the thrilling third fight of their trilogy.
A deal for Wilder-Helenius hadn’t been finalized as of Wednesday morning, but barring anything unforeseen Wilder will end his long layoff on the aforementioned date versus Helenius.
Wilder (42-2-1, 41 KOs), who will turn 37 on October 22, has posted videos recently on Instagram of him training at his gym in his hometown of Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
The 6-foot-7 knockout artist has spoken about retirement following his second loss to Fury last October 9 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, but he appears committed to returning to the ring. Wilder has looked leaner in those videos than the fighter who came in at a career-high 238 pounds the day before he fought Fury a third time.
Wilder was knocked down three times during his third fight with Fury, once apiece in the third, 10th and 11th rounds. The hard-hitting Wilder also floored Fury twice during the fourth round, when it appeared “The Bronze Bomber” might regain the WBC belt he lost to Fury by seventh-round technical knockout in their February 2020 rematch at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The 38-year-old Helenius (31-3, 20 KOs) isn’t an elite-level heavyweight, but his power will at least test Wilder’s resolve after a brutal knockout loss to Fury (32-0-1, 23 KOs).
The 6-foot-6, 246-pound Helenius has stopped onetime contender Adam Kownacki in back-to-back bouts. He, too, hasn’t fought since last October 9, when Helenius battered Kownacki (20-3, 15 KOs) until their scheduled 12-round rematch was halted in the sixth round on the Fury-Wilder undercard.
Kownacki closed as a 25-1 favorite before their first fight. Helenius withstood his early onslaught, however, before he dropped and stopped Brooklyn’s Kownacki in the fourth round of a March 2020 bout at Barclays Center.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.