After a year away from the ring, former world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder hopes to return to winning ways with a knockout against former sparring partner Robert Helenius on Saturday.
Wilder, 36, faces Finland’s Helenius in his first fight since being knocked out by WBC champion Tyson Fury last year at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“Me and Tyson Fury had three memorable fights, especially for the fans, and I’m hoping to continue doing so in the future,” Wilder said (42-2-1, with 41 knockouts).
If Wilder wins, he could advance to a final title eliminator against former champion Andy Ruiz in 2023, with the winner potentially advancing to a title fight against Fury.
Given the murky backroom dealings of heavyweight boxing, little is certain, so for now, Wilder is focusing on a quick win over Helenius this weekend.
“You can always count on the best from me,” Wilder said.
“I don’t get paid for working overtime.” I’ve been known for my knockouts, and I intend to finish my career with more of them.”
Wilder recruited the 6ft 6in Helenius as a sparring partner during his preparations for Fury last year, and he is excited to face the Finn in a full-fledged fight for the first time.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Wilder predicted. “Robert is a wonderful person, and we both have a warrior’s heart.” We’re both willing to put up our guard.
“This is our first time in the ring when it really matters.” It’ll be thrilling to finally step into the ring with him in that scenario.”
Wilder’s trainer, Malik Scott, has warned that Helenius’s sparring performances last year will have no bearing on how he performs on Saturday.
“When the lights come on, he’s a good fighter,” Scott said. “He comes alive when it’s time to upset people and throw a monkey wrench into the apple cart.”