With all of the major heavyweight belts likely to be tied up through the end of the year, it’s up to the remaining contenders to prove who is the best of the rest.
Otto Wallin plans to be the last man standing once the smoke clears, as he’s among the few heavyweight contenders not necessarily in a hurry to rush into a title shot.
“I know I need more experience,” Wallin told BoxingScene.com. “That’s why I keep taking fights like this.”
The next one in queue for the Swedish southpaw—who now lives in New York City—is a showdown with former two-time title challenger Dominic Breazeale (20-2, 18KOs). The two collide this Saturday as part of a Showtime-televised tripleheader from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Headlining the show, former four-division titlist Adrien Broner (33-4-1, 24KOs) faces Puerto Rico’s Jovanie Santiago (14-0-1, 10KOs) in a modified welterweight bout.
Wallin fights for the second time since the pandemic, both coming after the lone loss of his career—a 12-round decision defeat to Tyson Fury in Sept. 2019. The brave showing remains his best-known fight, having forced Fury (30-0-1, 21KOs) to fight through a gruesome cut for the final nine-plus rounds of the fight.
Fury has since reclaimed the lineal heavyweight championship, picking up the WBC belt along with it. The unbeaten Brit is in advanced talks with countryman Anthony Joshua (24-1, 22KOs) for an undisputed heavyweight showdown which they hope to stage by this summer. The agreement in place calls for a two-fight series, although one belt is likely to be vacated in the event a second bout takes place without honoring a mandatory title defense.
Regardless, Wallin (21-1, 14KOs; 1NC) remains intent on further honing his craft. Should a title opportunity arise, it’s an opportunity his team—which includes managers Zachary Levin and David Berlin—will certainly discuss and explore.
Absent that, step-up fights such as what awaits the rising contender will do just fine.
“Staying busy while Fury and Joshua do their thing will give me more of a chance to prove I am a worthy contender,” Wallin theorizes. “I need the experience to solidify my position. I’ve only had 36 amateur fights and this will only be my 24th pro fight.
“Right now, I need to beat guys like Dominic Breazeale and other contenders to prove that I belong. Fights like this will show that I am worthy of another big fight.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox