LAS VEGAS – Otto Wallin handled himself as commendably after his loss to Tyson Fury as he did during their fight.
Though at least two of the judges’ scores seemed wider than Wallin deserved, the disappointed Swede didn’t complain. Wallin instead praised Fury for using his experience and intelligence in the ring to sway how the judges scored some of the close rounds in their 12-round heavyweight fight Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.
“I think he used his experience to steal some rounds,” Wallin said during the post-fight press conference. “I know there were some close rounds and usually they give that to the champion. And I wish I could’ve stayed on it a little more to steal those rounds, like he did. But, you know, it was a fair decision.”
The 31-year-old Fury fought through a gory gash over his right eye for nine-plus rounds and grinded out a unanimous-decision victory over the previously unbeaten Wallin (20-1, 13 KOs, 1 NC).
Judges Tim Cheatham (118-110), Eric Cheek (117-111) and Don Trella (116-112) all scored the fight for Fury by sizeable distances. Cheatham scored just two rounds for Wallin, who won three rounds on Cheek’s card and four rounds, according to Trella.
CompuBox’s unofficial punch stats indicated their fight was closer than that.
According to CompuBox, Fury landed 52 more punches overall than Wallin 179-of-651 to 127-of-334. CompuBox credited Fury for landing more power punches (127-of-362 to 84-of-169) and more jabs (52-of-289 to 43-of-165).
England’s Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) took control in the championship rounds, until Wallin nailed him with a straight left hand that hurt Fury 38 seconds into the 12th round. Fury craftily moved and held his way to the final bell and secured his place in a contracted rematch with WBC champion Deontay Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs).
Wilder will have to win what would be the first of back-to-back rematches November 23 to solidify the Fury fight. The 33-year-old Wilder, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, will face Cuban southpaw Luis Ortiz (31-1, 26 KOs, 2 NC) that night at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Wallin, meanwhile, knows this performance has established him as a legitimate heavyweight contender. He gave credit to Fury, however, for what even he considers a convincing victory.
“I did everything I could,” Wallin said. “I left it all in the ring and, unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. And Tyson is a great champion, and he deserved the win.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.