Days before the NBA was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Def Pen Culture Editor Ryan Shepard traveled to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York for a heavyweight fight featuring Adam Kownacki and Robert Helenius. In the lively Brooklyn arena, Kownacki was king. He was positioned to fight for the heavyweight title if he were to beat the taller, yet slower Helenius. Through the first three rounds, the Polish fighter controlled the ring and pressed the action. However, things drastically changed in the fourth round. Helenius’s heavy hands made Kownacki pay and he put him down in the fourth round. Unfortunately, Helenius wasn’t able to capitalize on the huge victory because the world shut down.
Nineteen months after the first fight, Helenius and Kownacki reunited on the biggest heavyweight stage of the year. Picking up right where he left off, Helenius controlled the first round and hurt Kownacki often. Rebounding in rounds two and three, Kownacki was able to pose a challenge to the taller man by pushing the pressure. Still, Helenius found a way to poke at Kownacki’s eye until it nearly shut. As the fight progressed, Helenius regained control and repeatedly hit Kownacki with thudding shots to the head. In the midst of the onslaught, Kownacki was repeatedly warned for throwing low blows. Eventually, the warnings mounted and the fight was stopped.
With a win, Helenius will likely be the mandatory challenger for the winner of Anthony Joshua-Oleksandr Usyk II. Meanwhile, Kownacki will head back to the drawing board, enjoy the birth of his first child and plan for the future.
The heavy hitters marathon continues ?
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) October 10, 2021