Dan Rafael: Sergei Linkhovich
August, 21, 2012
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com
Boris Streubel/Bongarts/Getty ImagesRobert Helenius returns to the ring on Saturday against journeyman Michael Sprott.
Heavyweight contender Robert Helenius of Finland recently returned to the gym to train following surgery on his injured right shoulder earlier in the year.
“He returned back to the gym and has started using his arm again,” Sauerland Event promoter Chris Meyer said.
As for how the shoulder is holding up and if there is a specific fight in the works, Meyer said, “Nothing to report so far. He just started in the gym again.”
Although no fight is set for Helenius – who vacated the European title -- Sauerland Event expects him back in the ring before the end of the year. The original target return was September, but that will be pushed into later in the year.
The 28-year-old Helenius (17-0, 11 KOs) was beginning to get a lot of attention after a series of impressive knockouts against former world titleholders Lamon Brewster, Sergei Liakhovich and Samuel Peter. Even the heavyweight champion brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko had mentioned him as a possible future opponent.
However, Helenius’ momentum was severely blunted by a gift hometown split decision in Helsinki against Dereck Chisora when they met for the vacant European title in December. In January, the 6-foot-6, 240-pound Helenius disclosed a chronic shoulder problem and had surgery. It forced him out of a planned March 31 European title defense and into the layoff.