Otto Wallin saw Eddie Hearn’s list of potential opponents for Anthony Joshua in the event Oleksandr Usyk’s military commitment to his native Ukraine kept their rematch from happening next.

Hearn listed Wallin among a group that also included Luis Ortiz and Joe Joyce. Wallin believes he deserves the Joshua fight and views theirs as a much more makeable match than those other two fights.

Dmitriy Salita, Wallin’s promoter, also feels as though Hearn owes Wallin an act of good faith after Wallin trained to fight Dillian Whyte on October 30, only to have Whyte withdraw the day Wallin was supposed to fly from New York to London for their fight at O2 Arena.

Whyte claimed a shoulder injury forced him to pull out of that bout. He pursued a much more lucrative fight soon thereafter against WBC champion Tyson Fury rather than attempting to reschedule a high-risk, low-reward fight with Wallin (23-1, 14 KOs, 1 NC).

Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs) will make a mandatory defense of his WBC belt against Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs) on April 23 at Wembley Stadium in London.

“Maybe they owe me something, maybe they don’t,” Wallin told “But I feel like I’m really deserving of this fight [with Joshua]. And I’m the best option for sure. That’s bigger than anything to me.”

Sweden’s Wallin makes more sense as Joshua’s potential replacement for Usyk than London’s Joyce because, like Usyk, Wallin is a southpaw. Facing Wallin, while hardly a tune-up, would at least enable Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) to grow more accustomed to dealing with left-handed fighters if the former IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO champ were to win and then face Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs).

“There’s nobody better than me to emulate Usyk,” said Wallin, who tested Fury in a 12-round points loss 2½ years ago in Las Vegas. “I’m a southpaw. We have the European style. We fight somewhat similar. Ortiz is a southpaw, but he doesn’t fight like that. He has the Cuban style and he got dropped twice by Charles Martin, and he didn’t look that good [in a sixth-round TKO win January 1]. There’s not that many southpaws out there and I’m the most similar to Usyk. So, that’s a no-brainer to me.”

Wallin has history with Joshua as well. England’s Joshua narrowly beat Wallin on points twice – first in 2009 in London and then in 2011 in Sweden.

“The fact that Anthony Joshua beat Otto in a close fight,” Salita said, “when Otto was a kid in Sweden, and didn’t have any exposure to real training and real boxing, means nothing. It just goes to show how much talent Otto has. Now that he’s been in the United States for like seven years, training with Joey Gamache, and then the fight with Tyson Fury, and all the wins he’s had, the fact that Joshua beat Otto when he was an amateur from a small town in Sweden, means absolutely nothing. It would be much different now.”

Usyk upset Joshua by unanimous decision September 25 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. Joshua exercised the immediate rematch clause in his contract, but Usyk returned to his home country from the United Kingdom at the onset of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last month.

All males from the ages of 18 through 60 are prohibited by law to leave Ukraine during this war with Russia because civilians are expected to help defend their country.

Wallin, meanwhile, has remained in the gym in Manhattan, so that he’ll be ready if Joshua and Hearn determine he’ll be the British superstar’s next opponent.

“I watched him and Ruiz at the gym and last week I watched him and Usyk,” Wallin said. “And, I mean, if those guys can beat him – and I don’t take anything away from those guys, they’re very good fighters – but so am I. If two other guys can beat him, so can I. I know that. I fought him as an amateur and I’ve been waiting for this fight ever since then.

“He has achieved very big things in this sport and he has everything I want. So, I will come after him to take everything. I want that for myself. I’ve been waiting for this and I’m a very good fighter. I took Tyson Fury the distance [in September 2019] and put up a hell of a fight, cut him and everything. These guys, they wouldn’t be able to do that.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.