By Tom Donelson / Member Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) … Contributor to http://www.dmboxing.com with integrity and expertise since 2008
Deontay Wilder lost his second fight in the hard-fought Fury trilogy one year ago and his opponent Robert Helenius who is coming off two straight knockout wins over Adam Kowacki. For Wilder this was a must win if he wanted to be considered a heavyweight contender and the Fury trilogy was a brutal trilogy in which both men pounded each other . Wilder came in the fight as the favorite and he was in top ten shape weighing 215 and his opponent weighed 253.
On the same card, Caleb Plant faced Anthony Dirrell in a battle of two former super Middleweight champions and Plant was coming off a loss to Saul Canelo Alvarez.
Caleb Plant began the first round aggressively and looked the quicker of the two in the first round and the second round, Plant jab connected early and Dirrell looked measured and cautious . Plant jab snap Dirrell head and when Dirrell landed a nasty shot right back. Plant mixed body shots and shots to the head as he won round two.
Dirrell open the third with a good right hand while Plant rips a pair of right to the body. Dirrell hits a good shot to the body and a counter. Dirrell also clinched and provided some rough maneuver. Close round as Dirrell won the round but Plant could have won the round on the judges’ scorecard .
Referee warns Dirrell of his rough tactics and Plant put good combinations but when he overextended, he got nailed. As the fourth round progressed Plant is lunging more and Dirrell is using his experience to make it harder for Plant to land. Starting the fifth round, Plant’s jab stunned Dirrell and forced him to retreat . Plant’s speed allowed him to start the action, but Dirrell slowly adjusted. After the fifth round, I had the fight 49-46.
In round six, Dirrell allowed Plant to come into counter, but Plant landed hooks to the head and body. He connected on the most punches and Plant had a 59-55 lead at the halfway part of the fight. Plants begin the seventh round with a snappy left jab and Dirrell is landing punches fewer than even in the early rounds . Dirrell engages in rough tactics and is warned by the referee the second time. Plant gets Dirrell to the rope. Another round for Plant, 69-64.
Plant showed excellent defense and while he lowered his work rate, Dirrell is hardly throwing punches. The round ended as Plant landed a combination while Dirrell tried to return fire but missed. A combination by Plant ended the round.
Dirrell came out in the ninth round and Dirrell landed a big shot and forced to Plant to retreat. Dirrell has Plant backing up and shooting shots on the inside before out of now where, Plant lands a left hook that sent Dirrell down. This sent Dirrell down and out. Plant has put himself back in the Super Middleweight discussion.
Deontay Wilder showed he still has the power. Helenius comes to the center of the ring as Wilder moved. Helenius cut off the ring and Wilder sent a wild right following Wilder jab, both that missed. Helenius did not land or throw anything of significant. He landed a body shot but no real effect. Helenius followed Wilder into the corner and as he stepped forward, he got nailed by a right that sends him down. He was out cold and Wilder won with a first-round knockout.
Wilder is back as a heavyweight contender and he reminded people why he is a threat, for he can end a fight with just one punch.
In the land down under, Devin Haney defended his undisputed WBO lightweight champion against George Kambosa, Jr. Haney put on a clinic as he landed 202 punches to seventy-six for Kambosa and was even more dominating in this fight than his first fight with Kambosa. In his first fight, he landed 147 to Kambosa 100 to win a decision. This fight was no doubt from the second round as Haney simply dominated the fight with his boxing skills. In the tenth round he landed thirty-four punches to Kambosa one punch. A right hand opens a cut over Kambosa’s left eye. If there is a weakness in Haney skills, he does not have a knockout punch as he landed rights consistently
What was impressive that Haney was willing to travel to Australia for the rematch after winning the title in Australia. He was confident that he beat Kambosa a second time on Kambosa home turf. He was right, and it was easier this time.