By Keith Idec
Tyson Fury might not own one of boxing’s recognized heavyweight titles, but Otto Wallin still considers the unbeaten Brit the sport’s best fighter in their division.
Sweden’s Wallin, who will face the undefeated Fury next month, feels Fury’s draw with Deontay Wilder should’ve resulted in a victory for the man touted as the lineal heavyweight champion.
“I would say that Tyson, I rate him No. 1 right now in the heavyweight division,” Wallin told BoxingScene.com. “I think that he deserved in the fight with Wilder to get the decision, but he didn’t. But I know there’s some things these guys haven’t done to him, and I’m planning on doing that.”
The 6-feet-9, 260-pound Fury (28-0-1, 20 KOs) is a heavy favorite over the 6-feet-5, 230-pound Wallin (20-0, 13 KOs, 1 NC), who accepted their September 14 fight last week. Their scheduled 12-round main event will headline an ESPN+ stream from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Wallin knows he’ll encounter an unusual challenge when he fights Fury, by far the toughest assignment of his six-year pro career.
“I think he uses his size well,” Wallin said. “And he’s got good feet, good upper-body movement and he’s tricky. He talks to his opponents and he brings some different things in the sense that he’s that big and a good boxer.”
The 30-year-old Fury’s fight with Wallin is supposed to represent a tune-up bout before Fury’s rematch with Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs), the WBC champion. Wallin is hopeful Fury, fresh off a second-round destruction of Germany’s Tom Schwarz (24-1, 16 KOs), underestimates him.
“I hope he does, because that would make life easier for me,” Wallin said. “I don’t know. Who knows what kind of shape he’s in, mentally and physically? I mean, only he knows.”
If Fury defeats Wallin and Wilder overcome Luis Ortiz in their rematch, likely to happen November 9, Fury and Wilder will meet again early in 2020. Wilder floored Fury twice in their December 1 bout in Los Angeles, but their 12-rounder resulted in a split draw that night at Staples Center.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.