Carl Frampton from TNT Sports recently had a chat with Otto Wallin ahead of his massive showdown with Anthony Joshua in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Q: You are one of the most avoided heavyweights. Why do you think other heavyweights rarely mention your name?
Otto Wallin: There are a couple of reasons. I gave Fury a really tough fight, then notched up good wins against Travis Kaufman and Dominic Breazeale. But then, there was a two and a half year stretch where fights just weren’t coming my way. I was lined up to fight Dillian Whyte, but he pulled out just 10 days before. So, things were stagnant until I beat Gassiev in Turkey a month ago and secured the number two ranking with the IBF. That’s a key reason I’m getting this fight with Joshua – he’s got more to gain now.
Coming into this fight with AJ, who is a big name, people are talking about AJ and Wilder. Is this a risky fight for AJ to be taking?
Otto Wallin: “Yeah, I think so. I think it’s perfect for me, like I said, I’m just coming off a great win, the best win of my life, and now I’m just right back in there to fight AJ. I think that I’m in a really good place coming off the best win of my life, and he’s probably… he’s not at his peak, we know that. He’s coming off a good win against Helenius, but he was supposed to win that fight anyway. So, I mean, I think that I’m in a really good position, and I don’t think the same for him.”
What does it feel like to be part of an event of this scale?
Otto Wallin: “It’s amazing, actually. I feel so happy because I’ve worked so hard over the years, and these last couple of years, I couldn’t get any fights and just, you know, make no money, don’t get any fights, just go into the gym every day. But I’m really happy I kept training all this time, just working hard. I knew that my shot was going to come, and it’s finally here, so I’m really happy about that.”
What do you recall from your fight with Fury?
Otto Wallin: “Well, that was what, four years ago now, and that was pretty much my breakout fight. And it was a good performance by me. Unfortunately, I lost; it was a close fight, could have been stopped because of the cuts. He has two, he had two cuts, actually, pretty bad cuts. So, of course, if you ask me, I would like it to have been stopped. But Fury is a good fighter; he showed a lot of heart with me, he’s shown it before with Wilder, and, you know, I respect Fury, but I would love to win this fight, move on, fight Fury again.”
Did you learn anything from having that fight with Tyson that you can maybe bring into this fight with AJ?
Otto Wallin: “I think so, for sure. You know, just that I’ve been on the biggest stage, fighting the best in the world, and we went 12 rounds, so it was a great experience. And there were a lot of things I did well in that fight, but there were some things that I know I can do better, and that I’ve been working on. And I think just the experience, I’m more experienced now, more seasoned. And especially in that fight, I blew a little too much steam in the first six rounds, and I couldn’t really keep it up in the latter half of the fight. So, I think that’s something I’ve been working on, me, myself, and my team. And I feel much more experienced, much more ready now.”
Going into your own fight with AJ, what happens? How do you win this fight?
Otto Wallin: “I’m just going to do whatever it takes to win, and I’ve been working for this my whole life, and I’m ready for it.”
Who do you anticipate to be the toughest fighter out of AJ and Tyson Fury?
Otto Wallin: “I think Fury is the best heavyweight in the world. He didn’t look great last time, but, you know, I’m sure he had his reasons. I think that Fury definitely is the best heavyweight in the world right now. I favor him against Usyk. I think Usyk probably gives him a good fight, but I think Fury is the best.”
Wilder and Joseph Parker. Who do you think wins that fight?
Otto Wallin: “Well, I haven’t even been able to think about it too much. I think I heard about it yesterday, and I think it’s a good fight. It can be an interesting fight, actually. We know that Wilder punches extremely hard, so it’s got to be important for Joseph to have good defense. But Joe, he’s a shorter heavyweight, and he really has to take it to Wilder and push Wilder back, get inside, and work. And, I think he can do that, and if he has the right tools, he has a good trainer with Andy, I think there’s a chance for him to win, but Wilder is still, he’s got to be the favorite.”
Watch full interview: