OTTO WALLIN wants to make a point. He is not Tom Schwarz. The affable Swede insists that if Tyson Fury is bringing him in as a straightforward tune up for an inevitable rematch with Deontay Wilder, the Briton is making a mistake. The two will box on September 14 bout at the T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and Wallin points out, “He needs to look good in this fight and beat me decisively and probably knock me out too. That’s how he feels and a lot of people look at it like that. He’s got everything to lose and nothing to gain and I have everything to gain and nothing to lose. So I’m very happy with that. I can go in without any pressure and he has to put on a great performance… All the other stuff, I don’t pay too much attention to that. I don’t read comments on articles. They’re going to find out that I belong at this level.”
After Fury’s controversial draw with WBC champion Deontay Wilder, Tyson easily stopped Schwarz inside two rounds in June. Schwarz had achieved little as a professional and was proven to be well out of his depth. At first glance Wallin’s 20-0 (13) record seems similar; as a professional he has beaten no one of note. But he does have pedigree. Wallin was a good amateur, boxing in Olympic qualifiers for Sweden, boxing Anthony Joshua in the 2010 Haringey Box Cup and also in Stockholm. He beat Frazer Clarke, now one GB’s medal hopes for the next Olympics, in Uppsala a few years ago. “I had 46 fights, 34 wins. I fought Joshua twice, I lost on points,” he told Boxing News. “I can’t compare [the Fury fight] to anything I’ve done so far. But it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’ve never been to Vegas, it’ll be my first time. But I think it’s going to be a great experience and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Wallin does have a plan. He says of Fury, “He’s a big guy, he uses his size well. He’s got a pretty good engine, throws a lot of punches. He’s a great boxer but I think that with [Wladimir] Klitschko and Wilder, they are good fighters if not great fighters, I still think they haven’t done what I’m trying to do and what I think I’m going to be able to do. So I want to explore that and that’s what we’re working on.”
Fury’s mind games are another factor the Swede will have to contend with. “He behaves different from fight to fight. With Klitschko and Wilder he talked a lot of trash. But then with other guys he didn’t talk too much trash. We’ll see how he approaches me,” Wallin said.
“He wants to get into my head. I know what he’s about. He trash-talks a lot with some guys. So I have to try to not let it get to my head, just be myself at all times. That has worked up till now and I think it’s going to keep working.”
He does hold Fury in high regard himself. “He beat Klitschko. I think he beat Wilder too so I would say that he’s the best heavyweight right now,” Wallin notes.
For the rising prospect therefore this fight means the world. It’s everything he’s been working for. “It’s amazing. It’s something I’ve wanted since I started boxing when I was 15. So it’s a dream come true to get a fight like this,” he adds. He believes he can not only compete with Fury but that he can beat him too.
Wallin has had high level sparring previously. He estimates he’s done 150 rounds or so with Anthony Joshua, formerly the unified heavyweight champion of the world.
“I sparred him a lot for his fight with Charles Martin. I’ve got to say that Joshua is a real nice guy, a good fighter and I hope he comes back and does well. We had a lot of rounds in sparring,” Otto said. “He’s a hard worker. I think he can come back and beat [Andy] Ruiz but it’s not going to be easy.
“I wouldn’t say I was shocked [at his loss to Ruiz] but I was surprised. But, you know, in boxing we know that anybody can get beat and the same for Fury. He can get beat and it can happen any time. That’s what I’m looking to do.”
“Anything,” he hopes, “can happen.”