Robert Helenius stops Adam Kownacki in round 4 of huge upset

Robert Helenius celebrates after defeating Adam Kownacki. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
Robert Helenius celebrates after defeating Adam Kownacki. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images) /

Robert Helenius was getting beaten up by Adam Kownacki, and then he unleashed a thunderous right hand that changed everything.

Adam Kownacki (20-1, 15 KOs) came into his Saturday, March 7, showcase on FOX needing an impressive performance against veteran Robert Helenius (30-3, 18 KOs). Unfortunately for him, his aggressiveness ultimately cost him the fight.

Kownacki left fans and pundits wanting more after his performance against Chris Arreola back in August of 2019. He tried to blitz the Nordic Nightmare at the opening of round 4, but his tactics became predictable, and Helenius timed him with the perfect punch.

In round 1, Helenius threw his jab to Kownacki’s body and tried to stay on the outside. Kownacki was aggressive and threw looping rights to Helenius’s head. Several scored as Kownacki bullied Helenius around the ring. The pace settled a bit in the last 20 seconds, but Kownacki switched levels and attacked Helenius’s body. It was a strong opening round for Kownacki.

Helenius returned to his jab in round 2, but Kownacki snuck inside several times and put his dirty boxing to work. He roughed up Helenius with some short punches to the side of the head. He continued to apply pressure and kept Helenius moving back. Helenius fought back, and they were brawling in the final seconds with Kownacki landing the more meaningful punches.

Helenius’s output dropped dramatically to open round 3. Kownacki moved forward methodically, mixing in punches low and high. Helenius couldn’t keep Kownacki off of him, but he weathered the storm and stayed in the fight despite Kownacki’s best effort to punish him.

Kownacki was in full attack mode to start round 4, but he proved to be too eager. Helenius caught Kownacki with a right hand that dropped him. However, the referee ruled it a slip. Kownacki got off the canvas, but his legs were gone. He ate a Helenius left hook that landed flush on his face. Kownacki was down and damaged.

Kownacki got back to his feet but ate a barrage. His balance was gone, and he couldn’t defend himself. In the blink of an eye, the fight was over as referee David Fields stopped the fight award Helenius a TKO victory.

It’s one of the more unlikely heavyweight comeback stories that you’ll see. If you watched Helenius get flattened by Gerald Washington back in July of 2019, you would never have thought that he would be able to take out a top prospect like Kownacki. He looked like a shot fighter against Washington, but he proved that his hands can still stop people who are in their path.

After the fight, Helenius was a gracious winner during his post-fight interview.

“Kownacki is a tough fighter,” said Helenius. “Our hard work paid off.”

When asked if he was hurting after round 2, Helenius gave an honest response.

“Yeah, of course,” laughed Helenius. “He would just keep coming and keep coming.”

Things could not have gone worse for Kownacki on a night that was supposed to make his case for being a premier heavyweight. Several days before the fight, he expressed a desire to fight for the heavyweight title against the winner of Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder 3. Helenius ended those dreams.

Helenius’s win puts him in a position to land a second major bout in a row. If he closes out 2020 without a loss, then he should be the 2020 comeback fighter of the year. The year is young, but Helenius’s heart knows no bounds. He proved that against Kownacki.

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