The buildup throughout Otto Wallin’s previous fight focused on his ability to deliver a stiff challenge to the best heavyweight in the world.
The goal moving forward is to make sure he is better remembered for his winning performances.
A first step was taken by the Swedish southpaw last August, scoring a 5th round injury stoppage over Travis Kauffman in a relatively one-sided affair. The bout was Wallin’s first since Sept. 2019, when he pushed Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21KOs) to the brink in forcing the unbeaten Brit to fight through a gruesome cut for more than nine rounds.
Fury would win a 12-round unanimous decision that night and then reclaim his lineal heavyweight championship status just one fight later. Meanwhile, Wallin is still searching for his share of respect in boxing’s most storied division.
“Most people still know me as the guy who gave Tyson Fury a tough fight,” Wallin acknowledged to BoxingScene.com. “It's time to change that. So, the goal beginning with my last fight has been to show that I am a worthy contender based on who I can beat, not just looking good in a loss.”
The next step on that journey comes this Saturday, when Wallin (21-1, 14KOs) faces former two-time title challenger Dominic Breazeale (20-2, 18KOs). The bout serves as the chief support of a Showtime tripleheader which airs live from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Headlining the show, former four-division titlist Adrien Broner (33-4-1, 24KOs) faces unbeaten Jovanie Santiago (14-0-1, 10KOs) in a 12-round welterweight bout.
“First, I was glad when my team was able to get me a fight with Dominic Breazeale,” notes Wallin. “The fact that Adrien Broner is in the main event means a lot more people will be watching than they did in my last fight.
“I want to become a big name myself, headline my own shows one day. So, looking good here on a show that’s getting a lot of attention will get people to take notice of what I am capable of in the ring.”
Outside of Fury, Wallin has his most established opponent to date this weekend. Breazeale has only lost on the world title stage, suffering knockout losses to then-unbeaten titlists Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder. The loss to Wilder in May 2019 marks the last time Breazeale has been in the ring, though he still brings with him a reputation as a heavyweight who doesn’t go away quietly.
Given the fighting style and the name value Breazeale brings, the combination is music to his opponent’s ears.
“It’s a perfect opportunity,” Wallin believes. “. I need to make a statement here. I’ve been studying Breazeale a lot. He’s a tough, solid guys. I don’t want to say that I need to make it exciting, but I believe our styles will make for that kind of fight.
“He is the best I’ve fought, outside of Fury. No question about it, he is the second-best fighter I will face so far.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox