It was a one of the best heavyweight fights for a long time. A fit and committed Dereck Chisora 15-2 (9 KO’s) took to the ring and produced the performance of his career against Robert Helenius 17-0 (11) in his quest for the EBU heavyweight belt but the Londoner will not take any comfort in that as he left the Finnish capital of Helsinki empty handed, pondering what is next?
The reaction from most people watching and Frank Warren himself was that Chisora was robbed but that is the risk you take when you let a fight in your opponents home country go to the judges card. I had Chisora edging the bout while others had the 27-year-old winning comfortably. The 115-113 115-113 for Helenius to the 113-115 for Chisora was a little controversial but it is always expected when the fight goes the distance away from home.
For the majority Chisora looked in control but factors such as the occasional showboat and a referee desperate to get his face on TV could have swayed some of the close rounds in favour of Helenius.
Credit to both fighters who gave everything until the final bell, Helenius had never been passed the ninth round while Chisora had been training hard ever since his first career defeat to Tyson Fury where he was terribly overweight, both dug deep to finish the fight strongly.
‘Del boy’ started his European challenge positively but Helenius also showed the power he posed with a dominant second round. It seemed that Chisora retained control of the fight after that but his rhythm was continually interrupted by a busy referee who after spotting one infringement by the north-London fighter kept pulling the fighters apart every time the pair clinched.
The sixth turned into a heavyweight war Chisora caught Helenius with some eye-catching shots but was guilty of the same crime Martin Murray committed in Germany by not following them up with even more pressure. Helenius was allowed to come back into the fight and produce big punches of his own. Both took each other’s onslaughts into their strides, the rounds proving very hard to score.
As the bout entered the final rounds it was evident the man who finished stronger would be most likely to come away victorious. Chisora’s corner had encouraged their fighter that the last few rounds would be the chance to end it. Both men tired with the Finn looking slightly more lethargic than the visitor. Chisora could not find that final flurry. Helenius seized the momentum momentarily taking the 10th using his greater reach successfully finding his range but the Londoner would hit back in the 11th. It felt that Chisora had the advantage heading into the last round but a decision away from home is hard to come by in such a close-fought contest. The feeling was that ‘Del boy’ had to land that title-winning blow or at least win the final round clearly to have the opportunity of holding that EBU strap aloft.
Helenius dug deep and after the early pressure from Chisora he threatened towards the end of the round. A big right caught Chisora, rocking the Englishman’s head back which could have ultimately cost him a clear decision for round 12.
The bell went and the fighters showed each other the respect they had gained from a gruelling 12-round battle. It was the most entertaining fight for years in the heavyweight division. A fight that could make the Klitschko’s sit up and take notice but the threat these two pose on the world heavyweight titles wouldn’t have given that same impression. The announcer stated the winner had won by split- decision. The winner was then named as Helenius to the disappointment of Chisora. He will get the credit for the way he performed but that will be no consolation.
He will be disheartened; he had trained for weeks to get into the shape of his life. His attitude was better apart from a few lapses where he chose to showboat, fortunately, it went unpunished. Frank Warren promotions will push for the rematch but after tonight I am not too sure the Finn would be too keen. His sights will most likely focus on a world title bout with Alexander Povetkin, who earlier in teh night retained his title with an eighth-round stoppage of Cedric Boswell.