Gary Antuanne Russell gets controversial stoppage; Kownacki may have to think about the end

The end might be near for heavyweight Adam Kownacki(20-3, 15 KOs) after he lost to Ali Eren Demirezen (17-1, 12 KOs) by unanimous decision (97-93 twice, 96-94) Saturday night at Barclays Center.

After back-to-back losses to Robert Helenius, Kownacki hoped to turn things around against Demirezen. However, Kownacki took a lot of punishment and was battling a bloodied eye late in the fight. Demirezen outlanded Kownacki 239 to 186. The two combined for a heavyweight record of 1766 punches.

The 33-year-old Kownacki last fight was in October 2021; according to him, he had some ring rust.

Photo: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

“I’m a bit rusty; I think he was getting off first in the exchanges; I didn’t’ sit down as much; I think the rust played a part, being out so long,” said Kownacki. “I was out of the ring since last October; camp was good, but I don’t know, I was letting him get off… I went back to the old me instead of the first few rounds when I was doing good.”

Kownacki says he will talk to his wife about his future but would prefer to go out as a winner.

“I have two kids; I’ll have a long talk with my wife to see what I want to do,” he said. “I’ve had so many fights here, so many great memories, I don’t want to go out like a loser. I would like another fight to leave my fans with a win.”

After defeating Chris Arreola in 2019, many were saying Kownacki could fight Deontay Wilder for his WBC strap at Barclays Center. There was even some talk of Kownacki fighting Wilder in 2022 if he had beaten Demirezen. 

However, it appears that Kownacki will never be the same after the fights with Helenius. He could stick around and be a gatekeeper, but that would mean he would continue to take punishment, which is not a good thing. Sadly, it might be in Kownacki’s best interest to call it quits. 

Gary Antuanne Russell shines after a questionable stoppage.

Gary Antuanne Russell (16-0, 16 KOs) delivered a sixth-round TKO (:50) over former two-division champion Rances Barthelemy (29-2-1, 15 KOs) in their super lightweight clash to keep his perfect knockout streak intact.

Russell, 26,  landed a clean leaping right hook that dropped Barthelemy early in the round. While Barthelemy could get to his feet, referee Shada Murdaugh waived off the action, drawing boisterous complaints from Barthelemy, his corner, and the crowd in attendance.

To be blunt, it was a lousy stoppage. Barthelemy looked like he was in decent shape and could continue. Maybe Russell would have eventually stopped Barthelemy, so you could argue that Russell was robbed of a convincing ending.

“I know Rances is a high-grade, class athlete, and he wanted to continue,” said Russell, who revealed post-fight that he hurt his left hand in the fifth round. “Emotions were high. Whether we are bruised or beaten, as a warrior, you always want to continue, but the referee was doing his job, and if he was allowed to continue, it would have been the same outcome. I would have gotten him.

“In the sixth round, I had him backing up. I knew he was looking for his right cross, and I caught him backing up, and I shot my hook and put him down, he was buzzed, but he wanted to keep going. He’s a warrior.”

The 36-year-old Barthelemy says this loss is tough for him to handle.

“This is the most bitter loss of my career,” said Barthelemy. “I’m destroyed. Don’t get me wrong; this wasn’t Russell’s fault at all. I’m a veteran, and I had been through something like that plenty of times in my career. The referee treated me like a rookie instead of the two-time world champion I am…

“No, they shouldn’t have stopped it,” said Barthelemy. “I felt good. It was a good shot; I’m not denying that, but they shouldn’t have stopped it. I got up and told him I was fine and good to go. Of course, I want the rematch with a different referee.”

It was a competitive bout as the fighters threw within five total punches of each other per round across the bout, including combining to throw 361 power punches out of 515 total thrown.  At the time of the stoppage, the score totals were 49-46 twice and 48-47 in favor of Russell.

Fighting for the first time since the passing of his father and lifelong trainer Gary Sr., Russell was led in his corner by his brother and former WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr., as he looks to continue his ascent in the 140-pound division.

“I want to tell my father up above I did it for him; we’re going to keep it going for pops,” said Russell. “This is something my dad instilled in us, no matter what you go through in life and death, two things are inevitable; he raised us to be men and well-rounded men. Being thorough means to be prepared, and he prepared us for boxing and for life outside of boxing. I thank my father, and I did what I had to do.”

Russell’s future does look bright, and he is definitely on his way to a title shot. As far as Barthelemy, who fought well on Saturday night, maybe he can get a rematch, but at 36, who knows how many fights at this level he has left. 

Kownacki, Derevyanchenko looking to bounce back after losses

Polish star and Brooklyn’s all-action Adam Kownacki and top middleweight contender Sergiy Derevyanchenko showed off their skills at a media workout in Brooklyn Wednesday before their respective showdowns on Saturday, July 30 from Barclays Center in Brooklyn in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

Kownacki will return to fight at Barclays Center for the 11th time in his career, as he takes on Turkish Olympian Ali Eren Demirezen in the co-main event live on SHOWTIME. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® tripleheader is headlined by two-division champion Danny “Swift” Garcia making his 154-pound debut against exciting contender Jose Benavidez Jr.

Derevyanchenko, who trains in Brooklyn, will meet Joshua Conley in a 10-round bout that highlights a stacked undercard lineup.

Here is what the fighters had to say Wednesday from world famous Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn:

ADAM KOWNACKI

Photos: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

“It’s amazing to be back at Barclays Center. I can’t wait to be back in there. I’m ready to get back in line for a championship fight.

“I just have had to work on my footwork and keeping my hands up. I have to be smart. One shot can change everything. It was some bad luck getting caught in each fight. I tried to make the best out of it and leave everything in the ring. It was a life lesson.

“I’m coming back stronger. I’ve been sparring with no issues to the broken orbital bone. I’m feeling great and I can’t wait to return.

“I want to be active again. I’m focused on this win, and then we can talk about getting back in the ring early next year. It’s tunnel-vision on July 30.

“I really appreciate the fans who have been there to support me. Barclays Center is going to be red and white. I’m excited to feel that atmosphere. Those fans keep me motivated mentally.

“Right now I’m just focused on Demirezen. That’s the man in front of me. I have to tear down that wall that’s in front of me. That’s all I’m focused on.

“I’m facing a strong Olympian who’s got good size, so I’m expecting a great fight. It’s going to be a good test for me, but I’m looking to ace it and move on to better things. Right now, Demirezen has all of my attention.”

SERGIY DEREVYANCHENKO

“I want to fight any of the champions at middleweight. Jaime Munguia would be a great fight. There’s a lot of strong fighters in the division and I want to face any of them.

“I still feel strong at middleweight. I’m going to keep working and facing the best challengers I can get so that I’m back in title contention.

“I want to come back stronger and I’m ready to show it. I’m always fighting for Ukraine. I represent my country every time I step into the ring.

“It’s always fun to fight at Barclays Center. It’s a big arena and they have amazing crowds. I can’t wait to be back in the ring.

“I feel strong physically. I still have the desire mentally and my body is still responding and able to perform. That’s all I can ask for.

“Everyone will see my improvements on fight night. I’m facing an opponent who can jab and move. He’s not going to be very busy in there, but I know that I have to be ready for his counters.

“This is a big event and I’m excited to be a part of it. I’m very happy to be a part of it and motivated to deliver for the fans.”

Garcia-Benavidez, Kownacki-Demirezen set for July 30 in Brooklyn

Two-division world champion and Brooklyn fan-favorite Danny “Swift” Garcia will make his super welterweight debut against exciting contender Jose Benavidez Jr. in a 12-round showdown that headlines a stacked tripleheader Saturday, July 30 live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center in Brooklyn in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will also see Polish star and Brooklyn’s all-action Adam Kownacki returning to the ring to take on Turkish Olympian Ali Eren Demirezen in a 10-round heavyweight attraction, while unbeaten rising star Gary Antuanne Russell faces two-division champion Rances Barthelemy in a 10-round showdown to kick off the telecast.

A world champion at 140 and 147 pounds, Garcia (36-3, 21 KOs) owns one of the sports’ most impressive resumes as he now seeks to add a 154-pound title to his list of accomplishments. He returns to fight at Barclays Center for the ninth time, where he headlined the first ever boxing show at the arena in 2012 in his SHOWTIME debut. The Philadelphia native’s run through the super lightweight division saw him defeat a string of champions including Erik Morales, Amir Khan, Zab Judah, Lucas Matthysse, Nate Campbell and Kendall Holt. As a welterweight, the 34-year-old added triumphs over Lamont Peterson, Paulie Malignaggi, and Robert Guerrero, defeating Guerrero for a vacant title in 2016. Garcia’s campaign at welterweight included narrow defeats to some of the sport’s most talented and rugged fighters –Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, and  unbeaten unified champion Errol Spence Jr.

“I feel blessed,” said Garcia. “I’m back like I never left. I can’t wait to return to the ring in front of the fans at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, who have always supported me, and for all my fans across the country watching on SHOWTIME. The ‘Danny Garcia Show’ returns July 30 and you don’t want to miss it!”

The 30-year-old Benavídez (27-1-1, 18 KOs) is the older brother of unbeaten two-time world champion David Benavídez and is trained by his father Jose Sr. A long-established contender, Benavídez moved up to super welterweight in his last fight after dropping a 147-pound title showdown to Terence Crawford in October 2018. Benavídez fought Francisco Emanuel Torres to a draw last November, his first action in just over three years. The Phoenix-native had previously earned wins over contenders such as Mauricio Herrera, Francisco Santana and Frank Rojas on his way to that world title opportunity against Crawford.

“This is a Mexico vs. Puerto Rico matchup and both of us have something to prove,” said Benavídez. “It’s going to be a great fight for the fans. I feel strong and I know I will end this one on fight night. I’m bigger and stronger than he is and come July 30, he will see the difference in power between us.”

The 33-year-old Kownacki (20-2, 15 KOs) returns to the friendly confines of Barclays Center where he has previously fought 10 times, compiling a 9-1 record with five knockouts. Born in Lomza, Poland before moving to Brooklyn when he was seven, Kownacki will step back into the ring after dropping a pair of explosive, fan-friendly fights to Robert Helenius. He owns victories over former world champion Charles Martin and former title challengers Gerald Washington and Chris Arreola. His August 2019 battle against Arreola set CompuBox records for heavyweights in combined power punches thrown and landed.

“I’m very excited to be back in the ring, especially back home in Brooklyn at Barclays Center,” said Kownacki. “I’m ready to show the world that Robert Helenius just caught me at a complicated time in my life, where juggling being a new father and a fighter was a new experience and learning how to manage both was something I needed to learn how to do. For this fight, my family went away to Poland while I’m in camp so I could only focus on boxing. It was a difficult decision to make, but the right one. Demirezen is coming off a couple big wins, so I know he will bring his ‘A’ game, but I need to beat him to be back in the heavyweight mix. Our fight on July 30 will be action-packed with my hand being raised in victory.”

A 2016 Olympian for Turkey, Demirezen (16-1, 12 KOs) has fought out of Hamburg, Germany in the professional ranks since turning pro in late 2016. The 32-year-old won his first 11 pro fights, including a second-round stoppage of Rad Rashid to capture a European heavyweight title in 2018. Demirezen’s first U.S. outing came in 2019, when he became the first person to go the distance against Efe Ajagba, losing by decision. Since that defeat, Demirezen has scored five-straight victories, including defeating former title challengers Gerald Washington in January and Kevin Johnson in May.

“I’m very happy to fight in the U.S. again on July 30,” said Demirezen. “After my big win in Miami [in January], I’m very confident I’m going to give everyone a great fight in Brooklyn. I’m ready for anything Adam Kownacki brings to the ring and I want to make a big statement with a win over him.”

A native of Capitol Heights, Md., Russell (15-0, 15 KOs) will be continuing on the legacy left by his late father Gary Sr., as he belongs to one of the sport’s preeminent fighting families and trains alongside his older brothers, former WBC Featherweight Champion Gary Jr. and bantamweight contender Gary Antonio. The 25-year-old Russell has yet to allow an opponent to make it to the final bell since turning pro in 2017 following his run representing the U.S. at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics. Most recently, Russell added the most impressive professional victory of his career thus far, as he became the first person to stop former champion Viktor Postol in their February clash on SHOWTIME.

When asked about his fight against Barthelemy, Russell cryptically said, “Deforestation is just a phase that shows there’s more space for growth and conquer,’’ and then stated that he would explain what he means after winning this fight.

A native of Havana, Cuba now fighting out of Las Vegas, Barthelemy (29-1-1, 15 KOs) added two victories in 2021, winning a unanimous decision over All Rivera in January before stopping Gustavo David Vittori in two rounds in November. A world champion at 130 and 135 pounds, Barthelemy owns notable victories over Argenis Mendez, Antonio DeMarco, Mickey Bey and Denis Shafikov. His only professional loss came in a 2018 140-pound championship rematch against Kiryl Relikh, with the only other blemish on his record coming via a draw versus former champion Robert Easter Jr. in 2019. Barthelemy also comes from a fighting family, as he is the middle brother between the younger Leduan and the older Yan, who won a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics.

“I’m thrilled to be competing on SHOWTIME, especially against an undefeated young lion like Gary Antuanne Russell,” said Barthelemy. “He’s knocked out every opponent he’s faced, but he’s going to find out real quick that I’m on another level. I’m more determined than ever to take this young kid to school. Don’t be surprised if I take him out, as I’ve been working on my power and explosiveness. The new and improved version of myself will be on display July 30 in Brooklyn.”

Sanchez, Helenius, Anderson get victories on Fury-Wilder III

In the co-main event battle between two unbeaten heavyweights, Frank Sánchez (19-0, 13 KOs) scored one knockdown on his way to a comfortable, 10-round unanimous decision win over Efe Ajagba.

Sánchez used his superior boxing skills to keep the hard-hitting Ajagba (15-1, 12 KOs) off-balance for the entire fight. The “Cuban Flash” displayed his power as well, flooring Ajagba with a hard right in the seventh. A follow-up left hook which landed a tick after Ajagba’s knee hit the canvas and caused referee Mike Ortega to warn Sanchez.

Ajagba made it to his feet and survived the round but never seriously threatened on his way to the first defeat of his career.

Robert Helenius (31-3, 20 KOs) was even better against Adam Kownacki (20-2, 15 KOs) this time. In a rematch of their March 2020 slugfest, which Helenius won via fourth-round TKO, Helenius battered Kownacki throughout to induce a stoppage at 2:38 of the sixth round of their scheduled 12-round heavyweight encounter.

“It was good,” Helenius said of the ending. “Either way, it would have been a stoppage. I had a lot of good shots tonight and he didn’t have any.

“I expected [this win] because, what does he have? Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good brawler, but I’ve been fighting brawlers for 20 years. I know how to deal with them, even if they are hitting me low or behind the head. That doesn’t bother me.”

Helenius used his height and length to box in the first, working the jab up and downstairs and briefly buckling Kownacki with a right toward the end of the stanza.

Kownacki came alive in the second and third, throwing punches in bunches, but earned a warning for two low blows that sank Helenius to his knees. The “Nordic Nightmare” took over from that point on, closing Kownacki’s left eye and bloodying his nose with thudding power shots.

The steady hammering continued until the sixth, when Kownacki landed another low blow. Referee Celestino Ruiz examined Kownacki as he warned him for the infraction and decided to halt the action.

“Right now, I want to go home to my family,” Helenius said. “I’ve been away from them for four weeks. Then we can worry about what’s next.”

Jared “Big Baby” Anderson (10-0, 10 KOs) continued his rapid rise up the heavyweight ranks, stopping veteran Vladimir Tereshkin (22-1-1, 12 KOs) at 2:51 of the second round.

“I was a little anxious in the opening round,” Anderson said. “My first pay-per-view card and all that. But I settled in and gave a great performance. I practiced what my coaches preached. On to the next one.”

Anderson dominated from the opening bell, landing at will. In the second, a series of well-placed power shots drove Tereshkin toward the ropes where Anderson unloaded on his defenseless opponent until referee Kenny Bayless stepped in.

“I got great work in the gym with Tyson Fury. Iron sharpens iron,” Anderson said. “Shout out to Toledo, my home. I hope I made the fans back home proud.”

Photo: Ryan Hafey / Premier Boxing Champions

Kownacki: ‘I’m going to show everyone that my last fight was an accident’

Polish star Adam Kownacki has revenge and redemption on his mind as he prepares for his rematch against Robert Helenius, which takes place on the ESPN+ PPV and FOX Sports PPV undercard (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) leading up to the highly anticipated Fury vs. Wilder III heavyweight trilogy showdown on Saturday, October 9 from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

“A win on October 9 puts me back on the map and would show that the last fight was just an accident,” said Kownacki. “I think that I got a little tired and tried to end the night early, so I rushed in and got caught. But being Brooklyn-born, when someone puts you on your ass, you want to show the kind of character you have, come back and beat them. I come from a hardworking community of mostly immigrants. So I don’t shy away from hard work or tough tests.”

The test in front of Kownacki is a second showdown against Finland’s Helenius, after Kownacki suffered his first career loss in March 2020 against Helenius. For this fight, Kownacki has made adjustments in training camp to help put him over the top when he faces Helenius again.

“Training has been going great,” said Kownacki. “I’ve been eating healthier and feeling a lot better. We’ve been working out of Bellmore Kickboxing Academy in New York and I’ve been sparring with Otto Walin and Brandon Lynch. We cut down sparring to two days a week, but we’re doing eight and 10-round sessions, so it’s been great work.

“With the rematch being postponed a few times, we’ve basically had three or four mini camps going all the way back to January. At this point, I just can’t wait to get back in the ring with Helenius.”

Kownacki’s rise up the heavyweight division coincided with him becoming a popular draw amongst the passionate Polish sports fans in his adopted hometown of Brooklyn. On October 9, Kownacki fights in Las Vegas for the first time in his career, and competes outside of Brooklyn for the first time in years. This change in venue is something that Kownacki is not only ready for, but could work to his advantage.

“I’m going to be ready for the bright lights for sure,” said Kownacki. “There actually might be less distractions for me in Las Vegas, compared to being in Brooklyn. I’m not looking to make any excuses, but my son was born just months before my last fight and there were lots of sleepless nights leading up to it. For this fight, my son will be staying back home with my wife. I’ll miss them, but I should be able to totally focus during fight week.”

Known for his aggressive and action-packed style, Kownacki does not plan to abandon that strategy that made him a fan-favorite, but he plans to be more prepared for what Helenius brings to the ring and fully-focused on showing the best version of his skills on October 9.

“Helenius is a good counter puncher and that’s what I got caught with,” said Kownacki. “I got reckless. Every fighter in this division can pack a punch. Everyone who’s seen me fight, knows that I come forward and try to destroy people. As always, this fight is going to be action packed. On October 9, I’m going to show everyone that my last fight was an accident and that I’m back to being my old self.”

Three heavyweight bouts added to Fury-Wilder III undercard

Four big heavyweight fights in one historic night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Three can’t-miss heavyweight showdowns have been added to the televised PPV undercard of the highly anticipated third fight between WBC and lineal heavyweight world champion Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury and former heavyweight world champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder.

In the 10-round co-main event, 2016 Nigerian Olympian “The One and Only” Efe Ajagba will take on fellow unbeaten Frank “The Cuban Flash” Sánchez. The PPV telecast also includes the 12-round rematch between Finland’s Robert “The Nordic Nightmare” Helenius and Polish star Adam “Babyface” Kownacki, who was stopped by Helenius in the fourth round of their first bout in March 2020.

The eight-round PPV opener will see Toledo-born Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson step up in class against undefeated Russian contender Vladimir Tereshkin.

Ajagba (15-0, 12 KOs) turned pro in July 2017 and soon established himself as one of the division’s fiercest one-punch knockout artists. He showed his mettle when he rose off the deck to knock out Iago Kiladze in December 2019, and three months later, he broke down and stopped former world title challenger Razvan Cojanu in the ninth round. He last fought in April in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and knocked out Brian Howard with a single right hand in the third round.

“I am honored to be fighting on the Fury-Wilder III PPV as the co-main event,” said Ajagba. “I have been patiently waiting for this opportunity to showcase my skills. My fans — and critics — can expect to see more jabs, head movement, footwork and power in both hands against Frank Sánchez. July 24 is going to be a special night for ‘The One and Only’ Efe Ajagba.”

An amateur standout from his native Cuba, Sánchez (18-0, 13 KOs) now trains in San Diego with coach Eddy Reynoso. The 28-year-old has stayed busy on his rise up the heavyweight rankings, scoring three victories in 2020 as he earned a unanimous decision over Joey Dawejko and stopped Brian Howard and Julian Fernandez. Sanchez most recently won a technical decision over Nagy Aguilera in May and will look for an important victory over the fellow unbeaten Ajagba that could catapult him up the heavyweight division.

“I am excited to make my case as the top heavyweight title contender on the best pay-per-view card of the year,” said Sánchez. “I look forward to fighting Efe Ajagba and coming out victorious. Boxing fans want to see the best fight the best. People say Efe Ajagba is avoided, and that’s exactly why I chose to fight him. Fans can expect a great fight between two undefeated heavyweights July 24.”

In just his second stateside outing, Helenius (30-3, 19 KOs) shocked the crowd at Barclays Center by handing Kownacki the first loss of his career via a fourth-round TKO. Born in Sweden and fighting out of Mariehamn, Finland, Helenius established himself as one of Europe’s top heavyweights and knocked out Erkan Teper in September 2018 to move up the rankings. Prior to dropping his U.S. debut to Gerald Washington in 2019, the 37-year-old had won six of his last seven fights, with his lone blemish coming against Dillian Whyte.

“I’m looking forward to repeating my first performance against Kownacki on July 24,” said Helenius. “Boxing fans can expect another incredible fight with my hand raised in victory once again. All of Finland will be behind me when I show the world why I am most deserving of a world title fight. My only goal is to be world champion and unfortunately for Adam he stands in my way.”

Kownacki (20-1, 15 KOs) will be seeking revenge for the first loss of his career when he rematches Helenius on July 24. The 31-year-old Kownacki, who was born in Lomza, Poland and moved to Brooklyn when he was seven, is noted for his tenacity and had been progressing towards a world title shot with knockouts in five of his last seven fights prior to the March 2020 defeat to Helenius. Kownacki owns victories over former world champion Charles Martin and former title challengers Gerald Washington and Chris Arreola. His August 2019 battle against Arreola set CompuBox records for heavyweights in combined power punches thrown and landed.

“I’m very excited to be back in the ring,” said Kownacki. “The pandemic made things hard for everyone, but things are getting back to normal. Being a part of an all-heavyweight pay-per-view like this feels great, and it’s a great thing for fans of our sport. This pay-per-view will be action-packed from top to bottom. I can’t wait to get my revenge against Robert Helenius. It’s been a long year waiting for the rematch, but I’ll be getting a victory on July 24. I feel like things will get back to normal and I will prove that I am one of the top heavyweights in the world.”

Anderson (9-0, 9 KOs) has not tasted the final bell as a professional, a dominant run that began with a first-round stoppage in his pro debut less than two years ago. He has five first-round knockouts and became the breakout star of the MGM Grand Las Vegas Bubble, where he went 5-0. After closing out his Bubble run with a sixth-round knockout over Kingsley Ibeh, Anderson returned April 10 with a second-round blitzing of Jeremiah Karpency. Anderson was Fury’s primary sparring partner for the Wilder rematch and will serve in the same capacity for the trilogy bout. Tereshkin (22-0-1, 12 KOs) a 6’6 southpaw, is a 14-year professional who has won 14 consecutive fights since the lone draw on his ledger.

Kownacki: ‘A lot of great fighters lost and came back, so I’m about to do the same’

Heavyweight contender Adam Kownacki(20-1, 15 KOs) was expected to dominate Robert Helenius(30-3, 19 KOs) on Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. However, in boxing, anything can happen, and one punch can change things, which was the case in this fight. A clean Helenius right hook hurt Kownacki in the fourth round before a left hook put Kownacki down. Helenius kept attacking and battered the Polish star and Brooklyn native before referee David Fields stopped the fight.

“A lot of great fighters lost and came back, so I’m about to do the same,” Kownacki said to the assembled media after the fight.

Before winning his last fight in November, the 36-year-old Helenius was coming off a stoppage loss to Gerald Washington, so he was supposed to be a showcase opponent for Kownacki. If Kownacki would have won, he probably was going to have major fight him in Brooklyn, where he is a draw, but as we all know, that did not happen.

‘What’s next for Kownacki? Well, there was not a rematch clause in this fight, so we’ll see if he does get the rematch with Helenius. However, if that does not happen, Kownacki is still a draw in Brooklyn, so maybe he could get another winnable fight, which could set up a big fight for him at some point. 

It was a bad night for Kownacki, but since he does have a lot of popularity in Brooklyn, maybe this loss won’t be too much of a setback. However, if he wants to be a factor in the heavyweight division, Kownacki has to be in better shape. Kownacki was way too heavy(265 pounds) on Saturday night, so if he wants to beat the top guys in the heavyweight division, he might have to take his conditioning a little more seriously moving forward.

Photo: Stephanie Trapp/TGB Promotions

Kownacki on loss to Helenius: ‘It wasn’t my night’

Robert Helenius (30-3, 19 KOs)scored an upset victory over previously unbeaten Adam Kownacki (20-1, 15 KOs) by stopping him in the fourth round of a WBA Heavyweight Title Eliminator headlining FOX PBC Fight Night and on FOX Deportes Saturday night from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™.

“I want to thank everyone who gave me this opportunity,” said Helenius. “Kownacki is a tough fighter. I worked hard in training camp and it paid off.”

Brooklyn’s Kownacki was fighting for the 10th time at Barclays Center in front of his hometown crowd, but was unable to keep the taller Helenius off of him after being hurt early in the fourth. A clean Helenius right hook hurt Kownacki, before a left hook put Kownacki down.

“I knew that I hit him hard and I knew I just had to continue,” said Helenius. “I knew he was still hurt after that punch.

“Kownacki just kept coming and coming. He’s a good fighter I have to give it to him. My strength is to punch back when people come at me. It was a good fight and a tremendous opportunity for me to be here.”

While Kownacki outpaced Helenius landing 84 punches to 49 according to CompuBox, it was Helenius’ 12 power punches landed in round four that made the difference. Helenius kept up the relentless attack, consistently hurting Kownacki and pushing him around the ring until referee David Fields waived off the fight 1:08 into the round.

“It wasn’t my night,” said Kownacki. “It’s boxing. It’s a tough sport and things just didn’t go my way tonight. It was a learning experience, and I’m going to go back to the drawing board and get back to work.

“He hit me with a good shot. I knew what was going on, but I’m just upset with myself. It is what it is.”

Watch fight highlights here and here.

Photo: Stephanie Trapp/TGB Promotions

Kownacki: ‘I want to fight the best’

Heavyweight contender Adam Kownacki(20-0, 15 KOs) brings the fans out in Brooklyn. The undefeated Polish star and Brooklyn native has a big-time fanbase in Brooklyn and wants to put on a show for the fans on March 7 when he battles Robert Helenius at Barclays Center(FOX).

A win over Helenius will get Kownacki one step closer to a title fight. On Wednesday, Kownacki took part in a media workout from the world-famous Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn.

Here is what Kownacki had to say:

“It’s been a hard camp, and we’ve been doing extra strength and conditioning to make sure I’m ready. We also worked hard on our skills like we always do. It’s all going to add up to a great fight on Saturday.

“It’s great to be headlining on FOX. We’ve done a lot of promotion, and I love doing interviews with the media. I definitely want to make the most of being on this stage.

“Right now, I’m just focused on Robert Helenius. It’s going to be a tough test and a tall test. I have to be ready to exact my game plan and pass the test.

“His jab is the main thing I’m focused on. If I can get past his jab, I think I’m going to have a lot of success. When I get inside, I’m going to punish him, and If I get the chance, I’ll be ready to end the fight.

“I want to fight the best. My team will talk about what’s next for me and what kind of step-up I can get. Right now, I’m just focused on March 7 and what’s going to be in front of me.

“The support here in Brooklyn keeps getting bigger, and I love it. It shows that if you’re a kid from Brooklyn, you can make your dreams come true. Hard work is all it takes.

“Of course there’s pressure on me fighting at home. But if you want to be great, you have to perform in those situations. It’s going to keep getting bigger and bigger, and I’m going to keep putting the work in get better and better.”

Helenius: ‘Adam(Kownacki) is a heavy brawler and a good fighter, but his boxing skills are not that strong’

Veteran heavyweight contender Robert Helenius shared updates from training camp as he prepares to battle undefeated Polish star Adam Kownacki in a WBA Heavyweight Title eliminator that headlines FOX PBC Fight Night and on FOX Deportes Saturday, March 7 from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™.

“I spent four weeks of training camp at home in Finland, training in the Aland Islands, then I sparred for a week in Alabama at Deontay Wilder’s gym,” said Helenius. “It was a great experience and I learned a lot being around so many good fighters while working with my coach Johan Lindstrom. Sparring fighters like Robert Alfonso and Nathan Gorman will definitely help me be at my best on March 7.”

Helenius most recently knocked out Mateus Roberto Osorio in November, after an unsuccessful U.S. debut in July that he dropped to former title challenger Gerald Washington. Helenius is confident that he’s corrected the errors that led to that defeat.

“In the Washington fight, I relaxed in the later rounds,” said Helenius. “I got too comfortable and I know that I cannot do that again. I’m going to fight Kownacki from the first bell to the end and show the U.S. fans what I can do in the ring.”

In Kownacki, Helenius faces a tough challenge against an unbeaten rising contender. Kownacki brings an action packed style and relentlessly comes forward, rarely giving his opponent a chance to breathe.

“Adam is a heavy brawler and a good fighter, but his boxing skills are not that strong,” said Helenius. “That’s where I believe I have the advantage. I know that I can out box him if that is the best strategy on fight night. The fans are going to see two different styles collide.”

Another challenge that this fight presents is that Helenius will be fighting Kownacki in his hometown of Brooklyn, where Kownacki has shown he can create an unfriendly atmosphere for his opponents.

“I’m not worried at all about where the fight is taking place,” said Helenius. “I just have to stay true to my style and the rest will take care of itself. I can’t let the crowd force me to fight a style that is not mine. I’m going to use my skills to get this win.”

Photo Joanna Maj/Team Kownacki