Controversial split decision awards Helenius European heavyweight title
Defeated opponent Dereck Chisora demands rematch amidst widespread shock at the result
Saturday night's bout in Helsinki saw Finland’s Robert Helenius take the vacant European heavyweight title belt, as the first-ever Finnish professional boxer to do so.
Helenius’s victory over his British opponent Dereck Chisora in the sold-out Hartwall Arena was not without controversy, however, and the manner of his win is not likely to propel him rapidly towards a chance at the world title.
Helenius took the fight on a split decision, with two of the judges (from Italy and Spain) awarding him the victory on points, 115-113.
The Polish third judge, in turn, considered the British boxer had the better of it by the same points margin.
Afterwards, the ruling has widely been regarded as a crude miscarriage of justice, and not just by Chisora and his team.
In the international sports media, the general tone has been that Chisora dominated the proceedings in the ring and would have deserved to be declared the winner, having taken at least seven of the twelve rounds in the contest.
Even according to some Finnish boxing experts, Helenius’s narrow victory on points should have been a less narrow win for Chisora instead.
In fact, the outcome of the bout, and also its handling by Italian referee Adrio Zannoni, has raised a storm of protests, and demands for a rematch have widely been voiced.
Chisora’s emotions were running high after the bout.
“I was robbed. I want a rematch on neutral ground”, he kept repeating.
A rematch at some stage is very likely.
Helenius has said that he would be more than happy to fight Chisora again.
Wilfried Sauerland, the founder of Helenius’s German Sauerland team, does not object to the idea, either.
Still, if Helenius and Chisora are to repeat the title fight it will not happen in the very immediate future.
The European Boxing Union (EBU) has already ordered that the fresh title-holder has to defend his belt against the former champion Alexander Dimitrenko of Germany within 90 days.
Chisora’s coach Don Charles and promoter Francis Warren consider the result of the Helsinki fight a scandal on a grand scale.
“Results like this are the end of boxing. Sports like MMA will become more popular than boxing if we continue to allow something like this to happen”, Charles fulminated.
Helenius’s performance, unusually anaemic, was apparently affected by an injury that he sustained to his right hand in the very first round.
In a Sunday inspection no fractures were found, but a surgeon will examine the hand more closely on Monday.
The injury may explain why Helenius used his right arm so sparingly and why Chisora was able to come up close, time after time.
“This was the most difficult fight of my career. It hurt a lot every time I punched with my right hand”, Helenius commented.
”If my hand had been OK, he would not have been able to get in so close”, Helenius reckoned.
"I noticed already in the first round that I was able to fend him off with my punches. But then I did something that really hurt my hand."
“The pain prevented me from knocking him out. Every time when I hit him and noticed that he was slightly dazed the pain prevented me from finishing him off.”
Helenius has now fought seventeen times as a professional and remains unbeaten, but in all fairness this fight will not have greatly improved the standing of the "Nordic Nightmare" in the eyes of the boxing world.
He will need to step up a class and deliver in his next bout to disprove those who are suggesting the hype was rather excessive.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Heavyweight Robert Helenius´s next opponent to be revealed next week (27.10.2011)
Professional heavyweight boxer Robert Helenius excited about his latest ranking (20.9.2011)
Robert Helenius successfully defends heavyweight titles in Germany (29.8.2011)
Robert Helenius - talking with his fists (1.11.2011)
Boxing Today: Chisora robbed as Helenius wins by split decision
The Ring: Chisora loses split decision to undefeated Helenius
Robert Helenius (Wikipedia)
Bad Left Hook: Chisora Robbed in Helsinki, Helenius Wins Split Decision
Sports Illustrated´s Chris Mannix on the Helenius fight