Deontay Wilder is fighting on.
The Alabama knockout artist will square off with Robert Helenius in a 12-round WBC heavyweight title eliminator at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on 15 October, marking his first fight since the conclusion of his explosive trilogy with Tyson Fury last year.
Wilder (42-2-1, 41 KOs) contemplated retirement after suffering an 11th-round knockout loss in a back-and-forth classic against Fury in October 2021. Their third encounter in 34 months, each of them rife with heightened drama with no fewer than nine knockdowns in all, capped only the fifth trilogy between heavyweight champions in boxing history after Patterson-Johansson, Ali-Frazier, Ali-Norton and Bowe-Holyfield.
Now the 36-year-old American and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, who was honored with a statue in his Tuscaloosa hometown earlier this year, will return to the Brooklyn arena where he’s been victorious in each of four previous appearances.
“It’s been a long journey for me and as of today it continues,” Wilder said in a release on Wednesday announcing the fight, which will be carried on FOX pay-per-view in the US. “I thought so many times about whether I should stay out of the business or come back. 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.”
Helenius (31-3, 20 KOs), a 38-year-old born in Sweden and fighting out of Mariehamn, Finland, last fought on the undercard of Fury-Wilder III, when he scored a second straight stoppage win over Adam Kownacki.
“I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for a long time and I’m going to be ready,” Helenius said. “I’m going to produce an even bigger upset than I did with Kownacki.”
A pair of former super middleweight champions will face off in the co-feature bout when former IBF titleholder Caleb Plant meets in a scheduled 12-rounder with Anthony Dirrell, who twice held the WBC strap at 168lbs.