Deontay Wilder celebrated his return to the ring with a stunning signature stoppage of Robert Helenius.
Wilder was fighting for the first time since his second successive – and concussive – defeat by Tyson Fury
more than 12 months ago as he began a comeback which he hopes will end with him crowned as heavyweight world champion again.
And he made light work of former sparring partner Helenius, landing a short right hand – just Wilder’s third of the fight – while backed up in the corner, leaving the Finn prone on the canvas and in need of medical attention.
Wilder took his time in the opening stages as he looked to shed any ring rust, before exploding with a right hand which was high, wide and not particularly handsome. Helenius was content to box on the front foot while being wary of Wilder’s power.
Wilder sends Helenius to the canvas
And wary he should have been as a right hand dumped Helenius on the canvas with just seconds of the round remaining as the fight was immediately waved off. “It’s amazing to be back in Brooklyn. This arena is like a second home to me,” said Wilder.
“It feels so good to be back; when I came off the plane and set my foot on the ground I felt a great energy. I felt the love and I felt the support and that’s all I needed. I knew it was going to be a great night for me and it was.
“I was trying to keep my distance because Robert has a heart of a champion and I knew what he was capable of. I didn’t take him for granted and I looked him in the eyes and he really wanted it. When they fight Deontay Wilder they come with their A++ game.
“I set him up, I allowed him to reach and when he reached, I tagged him. It was a great fight and who’s next? I’ve been hearing rumours about [Oleksandr] Usyk but I see he’s not here. Most of the times guys say they want me and they come to shows of mine, they knockouts out like that they turn. the corner.
“I’m ready for whoever, whether it’s Andy Ruiz or Usyk, bring it on. Deontay Wilder is back, the excitement in the division is back. There is no heavyweight division without Deontay Wilder, that’s fact!”