<
>

Robert Helenius to have surgery

Heavyweight contender Robert Helenius, who was due to defend the European title on March 31 against an opponent to be determined, will instead be sidelined until the summer because of a shoulder injury.

Helenius, of Finland, is due to have right shoulder surgery next week in Heidelberg, Germany, Sauerland Event general manager Chris Meyer said Saturday.

Helenius (17-0, 11 KOs) has had problems with the shoulder for some time, but rehabilitation failed and the decision was made to have surgery.

"We had hoped to take care of the injury without surgery, but unfortunately it has become necessary now," Helenius said in a statement. "I will give the shoulder enough time to heal and then I will come back in style."

Meyer said that Sauerland Event hopes Helenius will be ready to fight by June, but that he won't fight until August because boxing in Europe will be on a break during European soccer finals and the London Olympics.

"We wish Robert a speedy recovery," Meyer said. "We will give him the time he needs to be fully fit."

Helenius, 28, owns knockout victories against former world titleholders Sergei Liakhovich, Samuel Peter and Lamon Brewster. On Dec. 3 in Helsinki, Finland, Helenius was awarded a controversial split decision against England's Dereck Chisora to win the vacant European title.

Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.