LAS VEGAS – Tyson Fury’s difficult fight Saturday night had nothing to do with taking Otto Wallin lightly.
Or so said Bob Arum, Fury’s co-promoter. Arum claims the brash Brit took Wallin very seriously from the time their 12-round heavyweight fight was made last month.
Fury was a 25-1 favorite versus Wallin, who was unbeaten but unproven before he gave Fury everything he could handle at T-Mobile Arena. Ben Davison, Fury’s trainer, and Fury himself emphasized throughout the buildup toward their bout that they realized the tall, strong Swedish southpaw was a dangerous opponent.
“One thing you have to say about [Ben Davison] and the Tyson Fury camp – they never underestimated Otto Wallin,” Arum said during the post-fight press conference. “They don’t listen to what Eddie Hearn says. Right? They know Eddie Hearn doesn’t know sh*t about boxing. They knew Otto Wallin was a good fighter and would give it his all, which he did. And if they hadn’t have prepared that way, there would’ve been another winner tonight.”
The 28-year-old Wallin (20-1, 13 KOs, 1 NC) nailed Fury with a left hand that opened a huge cut along Fury’s right eyebrow in the third round. Fury fought through the discomfort from that cut for nine-plus rounds and built a lead on the scorecards that led to a unanimous-decision victory (118-110, 117-111, 116-112).
The 31-year-old Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) had some troublesome moments, though, particularly in the 12th round.
Wallin landed a straight left hand that stunned Fury 38 seconds into that final round. A resourceful Fury bobbed, weaved, backpedaled and held his way to the final bell.
“It’s one of those fights where, although we all know Tyson’s got the boxing ability and the skill set, sometimes you have to be able to fight as well,” Davison said. “And Tyson’s shown that he’s able to do that. … I knew that Otto could box. I knew that he had good pedigree. And I knew that he can make himself awkward.
“But I also knew that he didn’t have the engine of Tyson, and the size of Tyson and the heart of Tyson, and the desire of him. And I knew that we had to have it in case he needed it, because I had a feeling that he might need it. And it turned out that he did. But luckily, he had it in the locker.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.