Speaking after the fight with Helenius’ father and former trainer, Karl, he stressed that his son is a better boxer than he looked on TV. “In my opinion, Wilder is not a really great boxer, but his right hand is dangerous,” he said.
Karl Helenius pondered on other possible “reasons” for Robert’s loss, but did not find many without “sounding like a bitter man.”
He, nonetheless, expressed concern for his son’s career at the top level while fighting “in countries where they don’t properly test for doping.”
“Robert has been part of a voluntary program for doping testing since he was 17,” Karl Helenius said.
This means that on short notice, Robert has to be available for inspection, and he must let the testing organization know in advance of his whereabouts should he decide to stay elsewhere than his home in Åland Islands.
“I remember one time when we were out with the children in an indoor adventure park at the Åland Islands, and the testers from Germany had arrived on the island and let us know that we have less than an hour to be available for a doping test,” Karl Helenius said. “In the end, I looked after the kids, and tests for performance-enhancing drugs were taken in the backroom of the adventure park.”
This type of rigorous testing, according to Helenius’ father, is unusual at the top level, and sometimes the results may show up in extreme ways. “When a boxer is high on cocaine, he can take two fights a day and then the next day cry and say that he will stop boxing!” Karl Helenius exclaimed.
In the worst case, facing a fighter on drugs who has learned to mask them, or has just stopped using steroids, can send the opponent to eternal sleep.
Manager Sundman said that in Wilder’s case both fighters “pissed in the same cup” and came out clean. “We have no reason to believe that any foul play had occurred regarding this bout,” Sundman said.
With all this being said, it’s clear that Robert Helenius was prepared to win in a fight that could change the course of his career in, what his team believed, only a few rounds.
Sadly, the risk he took by putting everything at stake with a deep lunge while staying slightly open and aiming to connect with his right hand that had enough knockout power to send Wilder off the ropes turned against him. Helenius’ next match could have very well been a shot at the world title, or he could have found himself in a deciding match before it.
This type of boxing is not for those with the faint of heart. The viewers and fans — even Helenius — will just have to live with that.
As far as the future of Helenius’ career is considered, there’s nothing anyone can say until he has gathered his thoughts and found some perspective.
His father does not know how long it will take for his son to recover mentally. Neither will he push Robert to a decision. Manager Sundman said that he has an agreement with Robert that they will not make any career-defining decisions until Robert is ready. It can take a month. Or two.
And we will just have to wait.