Hellraiser Boxing News | The Proving Ground
The Hellraiser Weekender: The Proving Ground. Steve Fearon, takes an analytic, in depth look at the Dillian Whyte versus Robert Helenius fight, the records of both men and what they indicate for the fight.
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by Steve Fearon
Dillian Whyte is being talked about as a world title contender, with Wilder having been posited by Eddie Hearn as the logical next opponent, despite the American’s apparent unwillingness to entertain the fight. However, I would maintain that Whyte has done little to date to justify his inclusion in talks of the best fighters of the heavyweight division, yet.
He is now facing Robert Helenius, a man once considered a potential world champion himself, though he has perhaps proven to be less of a ‘Nordic Nightmare’ than he aspired, in recent years.
Whyte entered the public’s imagination in the heavily talked up fight with Joshua in 2015, with Whyte’s victory over Joshua in the amateurs used to promote the fight as competitive, and a redemption fight for Joshua. Whyte acquitted himself reasonably well, landing the first big shot that Joshua had taken since turning pro, possibly straightening Joshua’s legs for a split second, though ultimately he was well beaten.
To date Whyte has had 22 professional contests, with only the one loss to Joshua to blemish his record, though many, including myself, had thought Chisora had done enough to win their hugely entertaining fight. Of the 21 fights he has won, Whyte has stopped 16 giving him a Win by KO% of 76% which is decent enough, though there are some question marks about his stopping power at the top level.
He was unable to KO Dave Allen, struggled to retire an out of shape Ian Lewison, and although Chisora is notoriously tough, Tyson Fury and David Haye were able to get the stoppage, and that is the sort of level that Whyte aspires to compete at. Paired with the fact that his boxing style is not overly technical, and that his defence is less than ironclad, it raises questions about how he can compete at the top level, if he doesn’t carry elite power, or a top level technical skillset.
The Nordic Nightmare
Robert Helenius has been at the fringe of elite level heavyweight boxing for a number of years now, but like Whyte, his record perhaps flatters his achievements. Helenius has fought 26 times as a professional, with 25 wins, 16 of which came by way of stoppage, which leaves him with a win by KO% of 64% which is a little on the low side to be honest.
His more memorable moments include a stoppage win of Samuel Peter, a controversial points win over Chisora and last year’s stoppage loss to Johann Duhaupas. The wheels seemed to have come off since the loss to Duhaupas, with Helenius taking some lower level fights since that don’t really offer much in the way of insight to his level at this time.
Quality of Opposition
When we look at a fighter’s past opposition, we need to look at their records, and deduce from a limited set of numbers, what we can assume. Whyte’s 22 opponents had an average win percentage of 60% at the time that he faced them, with an average experience level of 28 bouts.
This is not an especially strong figure, as top level fighters tend to have 70%+ for their career, but Whyte simply hasn’t fought many opponents with a strong record to this point.
If we look to recent form, the average win percentage for Whyte’s last 5 opponents is 81%, which is much improved, and indicates that he is commendably stepping up after a perhaps slow start.
Helenius’ opposition win percentage for his career is 73% which is much more indicative of someone who has been fighting on the fringes of world level, but what happens when we look at his last 5 fights, which includes the 3 fights he has had since his loss to Duhaupas.
Interestingly, this shows that in the last 5 fights, his standard of opposition has appeared to drop under that of Whyte’s for the same statistic. In fact, if we look at the last 3 fights he has taken since the loss, the average win percentage becomes 65%, which could suggest the state of mind of Helenius since suffering that brutal knockout.
World Class or 2nd Class?
In terms of their coming contest, we have an interesting dynamic unfolding which is playing out via their records. Helenius has a career’s worth of statistics that suggest he has fought at a better level consistently than Whyte, but conversely, in the last few years, Whyte seems to have stepped in against a better record that Helenius.
What this suggests to me, is that the momentum is very much with Whyte, and his improving record is going to overwhelm a stagnating Helenius, who has not fought against a high level opponent since his defeat. It will be interesting to see what weight the fighters will come in at, as Helenius dropped 22lbs from his previous two fights to come in at 239lbs against Orlov, whereas Whyte came in at a career heaviest of 260 for his last match against Tann.
The feeling is from these stats that Whyte will stop Helenius in the early-mid rounds, around 4/5th, after overwhelming him with sheer confidence. Helenius’ recent opponents suggest a fighter on unsure footing, and the brazen bullheadedness of Whyte may shake him, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to this writer to see Helenius quit on his stool.
Is Whyte world class?
Helenius realistically is around the same level as Chisora, probably around the European/Intercontinental level, so a dominant Whyte victory would be a strong indication that Whyte can move onwards and up in class. ALthough given Helenius's seeming decline in confidence and short notice, it may not be defeinite proof.
Helenius seems to fallen far enough that he is no longer at the peak of the division, so this is at best another stepping stone, but a dominant victory for Whyte would still be the best win of his career by some stretch, and would give confidence that he could push someone like Parker perhaps.
Let’s wait and see.
Posted: 28th Oct 2017
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