Robert Helenius’s boxing career could be at stake
Finnish pro fighter will have to give up his European Heavyweight title because of a shoulder injury
Finnish professional boxer Robert Helenius, the holder of the European Heavyweight Championship title, will have to stay clear of boxing rings for some time.
In the worst-case scenario, his entire career may be over.
Helenius it to undergo shoulder surgery, recovery from which will take an estimated six months.
The operation is likely to cause the Finnish fighter to lose his European Heavyweight Championship belt.
The shoulder problem revealed itself already six weeks before the controversial December title bout against Britain’s Dereck Chisora.
Helenius’s father Karl considers the fact that his son was allowed to box against Chisora was “a major cockup”.
According to Karl Helenius, coach Ulli Wegner from the German Sauerland team, in which his son boxes, wanted Robert Helenius to train and fight against Chisora, even though the shoulder injury had already manifested itself.
Helenius’s right shoulder will be operated on in Heidelberg on Thursday.
After the shoulder was examined in Stuttgart, the verdict was somewhat gloomy: the recovery process will take time.
If the worst comes to the worst, Helenius’s career may be over.
“Pretty heavy news”, Helenius admitted in an interview with the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE.
The Finnish fighter snapped a ligament in his right shoulder in connection with a fall while running.
Consequently two other ligaments have loosened, and in the operation the boxer's collarbone also has to be fiddled with.
Helenius acknowledged that the operation would have been smaller, and the downtime shorter, had it been performed immediately after the incident.
In the Chisora bout he also injured the knuckles of his right fist. This injury was seen as one reason for the Finn's rather inspid performance in a match that many felt "went the wrong way", with Chisora being very hard done by in the result.
Helenius was supposed to defend his European Championship belt against the Ukrainian-German Aleksandr Dimitrenko.
The European Boxing Union (EBU) has set January 16th (today) as the deadline for the purse bids for the bout.
According to the EBU regulations, the defending champion will then have to step into the ring within 60 days.
At the moment it seems certain that Helenius will not be in fighting form by that time.
“I don’t care if I lose the title as long as I get my shoulder sorted out”, Helenius said.
Naturally getting injured is a serious business and it was not easy for Helenius to hear about the gravity of his injury.
“Robert has not picked up the phone even when I have called him. What is positive about this is that now Robert will have a chance to rest and recharge properly”, Karl Helenius commented.
The Finnish fighter is not about to hang up his gloves. “I am extremely motivated to get back to the ring”, Helenius told YLE.
The EBU’s Finnish deputy president Pertti Augustin confirms that Helenius will lose his title, if the talks of a six-month convalescence period are true.
“The same thing will happen as happened to Dimitrenko. That said, no official decisions have been made yet regarding the matter.”
Dimitrenko was forced to give up his European Championship belt because of an injury. If and when the same happens with Helenius, the title will be up for grabs again.
Dimitrenko has been named as the official challenger, so he can fight for the title if he so desires.
Dimitrenko’s team has previously announced that he has set his sights for the World Championship title instead. Also, the possible European Championship opponent is not yet known.
Helsingin Sanomat failed to reach Robert Helenius or any representatives of his Sauerland team for comment at the weekend.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Dimitrenko to give a miss to European Championship title bout against Helenius (8.12.2011)
Helenius´s hand injury less serious than first thought (7.12.2011)
Controversial split decision awards Helenius European heavyweight title (5.12.2011)
Professional heavyweight boxer Robert Helenius excited about his latest ranking (20.9.2011)
COMMENTARY: Winning all wrong (7.12.2011)
Robert Helenius - talking with his fists (1.11.2011)
The Ring: Heavyweight Rankings, 19.12.2011
Robert Helenius (Wikipedia)
Boxrec: Robert Helenius