Deontay Wilder returns to the ring for the first time in over a year this month to face Joseph Parker – a man who many feel will be the best win on his record should he manage to pull it off.
Parker – a former world champion like his opponent – has fought three times this year on his comeback trail following a bruising loss to Joe Joyce last year.
Whilst the 31-year-old has the upper hand in activity, Wilder has it in power. From his 43 wins 42 have come by stoppage, often brutally, and that makes him the betting favourite on December 23.
It’s that record that the American used to warn Parker about trying to walk him down. Speaking to Instant Casinos, Wilder said he has two words for that game plan: Robert Helenius.
“If Joseph Parker tries to walk me down, there’s two words for that: Robert Helenius. We knew each other very well, but my style had changed a bit from when we sparred, he wasn’t used to me being a mover. He was used to me sitting there, fighting fire with fire. When I switched it up, it knocked him off his game, which caused him to change his game plan up and he started lunging at me, trying to walk me down and the first right hand I threw it knocked him out.
If Joseph Parker comes out and fights with fire with fire, he will be playing a dangerous game when it comes to me because of the power I have. Because when I come to punch I punch through you, not just to you. It will be exciting to see his game plan, but when he feels the power the first time his game plan is going to change. I’m looking forward to knocking him out, we were meant to fight many, many years ago but he ran from me.”
Helenius was the man in the opposite corner in October of 2022 for Wilder’s last bout. It lasted all of 2 minutes and 57 seconds, Wilder catching the Finnish fighter with a short right hand off the back foot and putting his lights out.
It was a frightening knockout that came from nowhere, leaving Helenius requiring assistance on the canvas.
It looked like Helenius was attempting to take a page from the Tyson Fury playbook, the only man to beat Wilder. Fury, who trains alongside Parker and his coach Andy Lee, used his strength and size to pressure Wilder and close the distance.
He won two of their three fights by stoppage after drawing the first. Whether or not Parker can do the same remains to be seen.