In his first fight since an epic trilogy with Tyson Fury, Wilder stepped into the ring for the first time in just over a year and quickly reminded the world why he’s one of the most feared punchers in boxing history.
"I set him up,” said Wilder. “I allowed him to reach and when he reached I attacked. It was a great fight. It's been a good camp for me. We worked to make this fun for me. We work at this so much that it can just become a job. We made it fun again. We put in over 700 rounds and it paid off tonight big time.”
Headlining at Barclays Center for the fifth time in his career, Wilder added yet another devastating highlight to his resume at the arena in Brooklyn and credited the setting of the fight for adding inspiration leading to his triumph.
"It's just amazing to be back in Brooklyn,” said Wilder. "It's like a second home to me. It feels so good to be back. When I got off the plane, I felt the great energy and the love, and that's all I needed.”
After a mostly cautious first round, in which Wilder only landed three punches according to CompuBox, Wilder caught a lunging Helenius with a short right hand that has ended the nights of numerous heavyweights over the last decade plus.
"It's been a good camp for me,” said Wilder. “We worked to make this fun for me. We work at this so much that it can just become a job. We made it fun again. We put in over 700 rounds and it paid off tonight big time.”
Referee Mike Griffin quickly halted the action 2:57 into the round, as Wilder turned his attention toward a second reign as heavyweight world champion.
"I've been hearing rumors about (unified heavyweight champion) Oleksandr Usyk but he's not here is he?” said Wilder. “When guys see these knockouts they turn the corner away from me. I'm ready for whatever. Whether it's Andy Ruiz Jr. or Usyk, I'm ready. Deontay is back and the excitement in the heavyweight division is back."