It seems like it was more than a year ago that Deontay Wilder took his second loss as a pro, at the hands of the merry prankster of pugilism, Tyson Fury. Nope; it was on Oct. 9 of last year that the power hitter from Alabama went 0-for-2 against the Gypsy King.
Oh, but much has changed since then. Fury has retired and unretired a dozen times, and as of now, insists he’s done with the boxing thing. Wait, do I have that right? Maybe he’s changed his mind.
At this moment, the heavyweight division is kind of wide open, though, so it could be that Wilders’ ring return slated for October 15 in Brooklyn, on pay per view, is coming at an opportune time for the 42-2-1 (41 KOs) fighter, who turns 37 years old on Oct. 22.
Robert Helenius, age 38, is an age and skill appropriate test for the Alabama boxer, who debuted as a pro in 2009. The Nordic Nightmare, holding a 30-3 record (19 KOs) is on a career upswing, coming off back to back beatdowns of caveman-tough Adam Kownacki, in the Pole’s home base, Barclays Center.
It was not a given that Deontay Wilder would be back, looking to regain the WBC strap he’d worn proudly. “It’s been a long journey for me and as of today it continues. I thought so many times about whether I should stay out of the business or come back,’’ said Wilder in a release. “Once I got my statue in my hometown and saw so many people arrive and celebrate with me and my family, to see all the emotions, grown men crying in front of their children and saying he is a real true king, made me feel like my job is not done. So, here I am once again, looking forward to returning to the ring. I am looking forward to coming to Barclays Center, a place where I have had my most devastating knockouts and a place I consider my second home. So where all my Bombzquad people at? It’s time to put on your war gear. And let’s go to work, baby. Bombzquad is back!”
And former IBF Super Middleweight Champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant is back on Oct. 15. He faces two-time WBC Super Middleweight Champion Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell in a 12-round WBC Super Middleweight Title Eliminator. Plant is coming off a no shame TKO loss to Canelo Alvarez, on Nov. 6, 2021.
Two other scraps will be added to round out the Deontay Wilder pay-per-view.
Tickets for the card, promoted by BombZquad Promotions and TGB Promotions, go on sale Friday, Aug. 19 at 10 a.m. ET. Pre-sale tickets are available TOMORROW, Thursday, Aug. 18 from 10 a.m. ET until 10 p.m. ET through seatgeek.com and barclayscenter.com with the code: BOXING.
Here is text from a release sent out Wednesday to herald the Deontay Wilder re-entry, which comes on the heels of Tyson Fury telling the WBC that he won’t fight to defend the BC strap in his possession:
“Deontay Wilder has established himself as must-see, live or on TV, because of his incredible knockout prowess. To have him make his return to boxing against another power puncher in Robert Helenius at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, adds another element of excitement to an outstanding card,’’ said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions.
“Caleb Plant vs. Anthony Dirrell is an old-fashioned slugfest that is sure to deliver drama with two highly-skilled fighters squaring off. With two more sensational matchups to be added to the PPV, fans that tune into FOX Sports PBC PPV or attend live at Barclays Center will be treated to an incredible night of boxing.’’
One of the greatest knockout artists in boxing history, Deontay Wilder (42-2-1, 41 KOs) is on a mission to become a two-time world heavyweight champion following a first reign that included 10 title defenses, a feat accomplished by only seven heavyweights in boxing history. The “Bronze Bomber” now returns to Barclays Center, a venue where he has fought four times and thrilled the crowd with some of his most spectacular knockouts. The 36-year-old slugger from Tuscaloosa, Alabama earned his moniker by winning bronze at the 2008 Olympics. He rejuvenated the heavyweight division when he captured the WBC belt in January 2015, becoming one of boxing’s biggest stars with an all-time heavyweight best 91.1% knockout percentage and a captivating personality to match. Coming off an epic trilogy with Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder remains must-see television and one of the greatest fighters of this era. “It’s been a long journey for me and as of today it continues. I thought so many times about whether I should stay out of the business or come back,’’ said Wilder.
“Once I got my statue in my hometown and saw so many people arrive and celebrate with me and my family, to see all the emotions, grown men crying in front of their children and saying he is a real true king, made me feel like my job is not done. So, here I am once again, looking forward to returning to the ring. I am looking forward to coming to Barclays Center, a place where I have had my most devastating knockouts and a place I consider my second home. So where all my Bombzquad people at? It’s time to put on your war gear. And let’s go to work, baby. Bombzquad is back!”
Helenius (30-3, 19 KOs) stamped himself as one of the world’s best heavyweights with consecutive stoppage wins over the previously unbeaten Adam Kownacki, including an October 2021 sixth-round TKO win over Kownacki in Helenius’ last outing.
Born in Sweden and fighting out of Mariehamn, Finland, Helenius established himself as one of Europe’s top heavyweights prior to making his U.S. debut in 2019. The 38-year-old “Nordic Nightmare” has won six of his last seven bouts. “It’s great to be back at Barclays Center in an even bigger fight than my last one. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for a long time and I’m going to be ready,’’ said Helenius. “I’m going to produce an even bigger upset versus Deontay Wilder than I did with Kownacki. I’m going for the belt, so this is a fight to prepare me to achieve that goal. I can only become the best heavyweight in the world by beating the best and that’s what I intend to do on October 15.’’
The 30-year-old Plant (21-1, 12 KOs) used his sublime boxing skills to rise through the ranks of the super middleweight division. In his first world championship fight, the Ashland City, Tennessee-native Plant, who now lives and trains in Las Vegas, took the fight to veteran Jose Uzcategui and won the title in a hard-fought unanimous decision in 2019. Plant dropped the first match of his career in his last fight, losing to Canelo Alvarez in an undisputed super middleweight championship fight on November 6. He will look to rebound and get back on the world title track in a grudge match against his rival, Dirrell.
“I’m looking forward to fighting at Barclays Center for the first time,” said Plant. “I know the fight fans in Brooklyn are going to come out for this card. I’m feeling good and I’ve been in the gym working hard since my last fight. I’m going to put on an excellent performance and retire this guy on the Deontay Wilder card.”
Dirrell (34-2, 25 KOs) is a two-time super middleweight world champion who won one of the toughest battles of his life when he beat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2008. The 37-year-old from Flint, Michigan won his first world title with a unanimous decision victory over Sakio Bika in 2014. He lost the title the next year via majority decision to Badou Jack. He would have to wait four years for another opportunity but successfully regained it with a technical split-decision over Avni Yildirim. He lost the title again, this time on a ninth-round TKO to David Benavidez in 2019. Dirrell is coming off of a fourth-round KO victory over Marcos Hernandez in his most recent match on November 6. “I’m real excited to be back in the ring in support of the Deontay Wilder fight on October 15,” said Dirrell.
“I’m especially excited to be fighting at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. This is a special place for me. I fought Sakio Bika for a world title at this same venue, so I’m happy to be back. This fight means even more to me because it’s one day after my birthday, which is October 14. So I’m looking forward to giving the fans a great show, getting the big victory on FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View and then celebrating it all after.”