Upset Of The Year Nominations:
Alex Povetkin TKO5 Dillian Whyte
Jeison Rosario TKO5 Julian Williams
Teofimo Lopez W12 Vasiliy Lomachenko
Robert Helenius TKO4 Adam Kownacki
Maxi Hughes W10 Jono Carroll
Winner: Robert Helenius TKO4 Adam Kownacki
It was supposed to be routine, a stay-busy fight for the 30-year-old Kownacki who was sitting pretty after a series of big wins over legit contenders. The undefeated Polish heavyweight had bested, among others, Gerald Washington, Chris Arreola and Charles Martin to position himself as fully deserving of a shot at one of the division’s title-holders, most likely Anthony Joshua.
Meanwhile, Helenius was clearly past his best at the age of 37. No one could remember the last time he looked good and, most notably, the same Gerald Washington who had been stopped in two rounds by Kownacki had stopped “The Nordic Nightmare” with violent authority, putting him down and out in round eight. There was every reason to believe Kownacki would be focused and ready to add another notable name to his spotless record, and no reason to pick Helenius to score a huge upset and make a mess of everyone’s heavyweight rankings.
And in fact the bout unfolded according to expectations for the most part, with the popular Kownacki attacking and letting his hands go and giving his fans plenty of reason to cheer. It was the same at the start of round four when abruptly Helenius caught Kownacki coming in with a flush right hand to the jaw that put “Babyface” down. But the referee ruled the knockdown a slip and when action resumed another right hand put a still dazed Kownacki down a second time. He rose but Helenius didn’t let him off the hook as he landed blow after blow before the match was finally stopped.
It was a wholly unforeseen outcome that radically alters the careers of both fighters and thus it is fully deserving of being 2020’s Upset Of The Year.