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Adam Kownacki v Robert Helenius (March 7)
Adam Kownacki is knocking on the door to the heavyweight division’s top 10, having compiled a perfect 20-0 record, but can he smash through that door with a statement win over Robert Helenius when the two men meet at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Saturday night?
Kownacki has really stepped up the calibre of opposition over the past couple of years and although there is no huge name on his list of scalps there are solid and notable victories. Former world title contender Artur Szpilka was taken out in four rounds just under three years ago and since that night he has bested former heavyweight champion Charles Martin over 12 rounds, knocked out former WBC title challenger Gerald Washington inside two rounds and earned a decision win over experienced three-time world title challenger Chris Arreola. All of this has set up a huge 2020 for the 30-year-old Pole, so can he make the best possible start on Saturday night?
Helenius, it could be argued, is a step back from facing the likes of Martin and Washington, but he is a vastly experienced fighter who has shared the ring with a whole host of notable heavyweight names, including Dillian Whyte, Dereck Chisora and the aforementioned Gerald Washington. However, he has not beaten anyone of note for quite some time and when he has stepped up the level of opposition in recent years he has come up short, with three defeats coming in his last 10 fights. Helenius is clearly on the downward turn and while he may pose a few challenges for Kownacki here, there is very little chance of us seeing an upset.
Helenius was knocked out by an aging Washington less than 12 months ago and that does not bode well for a meeting with an aggressive brawler like Kownacki, who appears willing to take a punch in order to deliver one. The 30-year-old Pole, who has stopped 15 of his previous 20 opponents has suggested he is looking to take care of business rather quickly and I expect him to do just that, swarming Helenius early on and never letting up until he stops him between the fourth and the sixth rounds.