Back in March, Robert Helenius made waves when he took down Adam Kownacki inside the Barclays Center. A few months before “The Nordic Nightmare” took care of business, Otto Wallin was close to beating the lineal Heavyweight Champion in Tyson Fury. These two boxers potentially opened the door for several stars to rise within the area.
With title opportunities on the line and more fighters to come out of the Nordic region, there is a chance we could see an awakening of some sort within the sport of boxing.
“It’s good we have some heavyweights that are doing well but I wouldn’t call it a golden era until one of us becomes world champion,” Wallin ended up telling Sky Sports. “I want to be that guy that goes all the way and so I can inspire the kids in Sweden and Scandinavia and show them that’s it’s possible.”
Wallin (20-1, 1 NC), from Sweden, cut Fury above his eye in September, which was deep enough that the fight almost got called. Wallin ended up losing via unanimous decision while Fury needed 47 stitches. His value grew as a result and he was ready to receive opportunities. Scheduled to face Lucas Browne earlier this year, Wallin had to back out following a stress fracture in his left foot. He then had a case of the coronavirus not that long ago.
Now set to face off against Travis Kauffman in August, Wallin is hoping to start the return of Showtime with a bang. There may be a chance he gets to fight for a title if he can prove himself in his return.
Helenius (30-3) gave it his all in the second round of his fight with Kownacki to make it competitive. He started tagging Kownacki in the third, and in the fourth round, he knocked Kownacki to the floor. A barrage of punches later and the referee called the fight off. As a result, the Finnish star won the WBA (Gold) Heavyweight Title. Helenius has now won two in a row and is 5-1 in his last six fights.
While he is hoping to face Anthony Joshua, Helenius may be interested in facing Luis Ortiz or Andy Ruiz Jr. That is if there is a title eliminator bout he must go through.
It is not just those two that are representing the Nordic region. Demark’s Kem Ljungquist is making waves since making his pro debut in 2017. The 29-year-old Ljungquist (10-0) was able to be in the corner against Wallin as Fury had him as a sparring partner. It was a moment he will never forget.
“It was really motivating for me to be around Tyson,” said Ljungquist. “He was very good at complimenting me on my boxing when I had done something good, and his trainer Ben Davison too. They were both really open with me and I learned a lot.”
Ljungquist fought three times in 2019, winning one fight via knockout and two via unanimous decision. He won his last bout in January against German Skobenko via unanimous decision. With five wins via knockout, Ljungquist has earned the respect of Helenius, who stated that he’s a hard puncher who keeps him on his toes.
After taking over the overseas scene, Ljungquist will look to make his mark in America next. Wallin and Helenius are excited at the prospect of the Nordic region taking over the heavyweight division, one step at a time. It may interest more people from the area to tune in, and maybe, join in on the fun.
“It’s looking great. It’s good to have some competition,” Helenius went on to say. “It’s also good for young people as well, because they get interested in boxing. The boxing gyms, especially in Finland after my Kownacki fight, there’s been a good rush.”