UNCASVILLE, Connecticut – Otto Wallin wasn’t completely pleased with how he performed last month.
The Swedish southpaw defeated Dominic Breazeale pretty easily, yet Wallin didn’t do quite enough to convince himself that he is where he needs to be on his journey toward a heavyweight title shot. The 6-feet-5, 240-pound Wallin boxed well, landed countless left hands and battered Breazeale for much of their 12-round fight, which he won comfortably on all three scorecards at Mohegan Sun Arena (118-110, 117-111, 116-112).
“All in all, this was a great experience again for me,” Wallin said. “You know, I’m still learning. I’m 30 years old, but I haven’t, you know, been at the high level very long. So, I feel like I’m learning and I’m progressing. So, you know, I’ve just gotta keep working and get better. I’m not there yet, but I’m getting better and I feel like I’m improving with every fight.”
Wallin (22-1, 14 KOs, 1 NC) still is most known for testing Tyson Fury in their 12-round fight in September 2019 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. He opened a nasty gash over Fury’s right eye in the second round that night and gave Fury a more difficult fight than anticipated.
As much as Wallin appreciates praise for how he fought Fury, he knew he needed a win like this to cement himself as a top contender.
“You know, he’s the best guy that I’ve beaten so far,” Wallin said regarding Breazeale. “So, that’s good. And, like I said, I feel like I’m improving, I’m getting better. But I know that I can do even better. And I’ve just gotta keep racking up experience. This is my, I think, third 12-rounder. So, that was good, too, to get some rounds in. I’ve just gotta keep learning and keep training, and I will get better.”
Before Saturday night, the 30-year-old Wallin had gone 12 rounds only with England’s Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) and fellow Swede Adrian Granat (15-2, 14 KOs), whom Wallin beat by unanimous decision in April 2018. The humble Wallin wouldn’t call anyone out after beating Breazeale.
“I think there’s a lot of guys out there,” Wallin said. “You know, there’s a lot of good fights. I’ve been so focused on Breazeale that I haven’t though much past this. But, you know, I hope to stay more busy now. Before this, I had a fight in August [a fifth-round stoppage of Travis Kauffman]. But before that, I had long breaks. So now, I’m trying to stay busy and I’m happy I got this fight now. And I’ll take a little break and come back and work and hopefully get a fight soon.”
When asked specifically about the possibility of fighting Deontay Wilder next, Wallin was noncommittal.
“You know, my ultimate goal is to be champion,” Wallin said. “So, whoever steps in front of me. But like I’ve said, I keep improving. I’m not there yet. I’ve got a lot of work still to do, but I’m getting better. I’m not so focused on who I fight. I just wanna fight, keep stepping it up, and, you know, when I get another shot I will be ready for it.”
Wallin joined Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs), the former WBC champ, and Anthony Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs), the IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO champ, as the only opponents who have beaten Breazeale (20-3, 18 KOs).
Wilder, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, knocked out Breazeale in the first round of their May 2019 fight at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. England’s Joshua stopped Breazeale in the seventh round of their June 2016 bout at O2 Arena in London.
As often as Wallin hit him with flush punches, the ever-brave Breazeale took those shots without going down.
“I knew he is a strong guy and he takes a pretty good punch,” Wallin said. “I mean, he was knocked out with Joshua and Wilder, but that’s the biggest punchers in boxing right now, those two guys. So, I had seen him fight, you know, take huge shots with these other guys, and stayed up. So, I wasn’t that surprised. But, you know, I wished I could’ve done a little bit better and knocked him down.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.