Otto Wallin won another fight on January 27 in what has become a tedious process to remain active while the heavyweight contender’s promoter attempts to land him another high-profile opportunity.
The Swedish southpaw defeated Mexican veteran Helaman Olguin by unanimous decision in a non-televised eight-rounder in Windham, New Hampshire. Now that Wallin (25-1, 14 KOs, 1 NC) has beaten Olguin (9-5-1, 4 KOs), his promoter, Dmitriy Salita, can focus on trying to secure Wallin a fight with Dillian Whyte that was supposed to happen 16 months ago.
Salita hopes Whyte (29-3, 19 KOs) will be as willing to fight Wallin as he was at one point in 2021. Whyte-Wallin was scheduled for October 30, 2021, at O2 Arena in London, but Whyte withdrew the previous week due to a shoulder injury.
Rather than rescheduling his fight with Wallin, Whyte went on to challenge Tyson Fury for Fury’s WBC title last April 23 at a sold-out Wembley Stadium in London. Wallin gave England’s Fury (33-0-1, 24 KOs) much more trouble than Whyte during a 12-rounder Fury won by unanimous decision in September 2019 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“Whyte didn’t look world class in his last two fights,” Salita told BoxingScene.com. “For him to compete at the elite level and to warrant him getting a fight against Joshua, he needs to fight somebody legitimate. I obviously represent Otto, and their fight has a lot of history. It’s a natural because the winner would have many options.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn has discussed on numerous occasions his preferred plan to stage an Anthony Joshua-Whyte rematch this summer at Wembley Stadium. A deal isn’t in place for that fight, though, and Joshua, who stopped Whyte in the seventh round seven years ago, has agreed to fight American contender Jermaine Franklin on April 1 at O2 Arena.
Franklin (21-1, 14 KOs), of Saginaw, Michigan, tested Whyte in their November 26 bout at OVO Arena Wembley in London, but Whyte won a 12-round majority decision. Whyte wants to fight once more before a rematch with Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs), yet Wallin is more than capable of beating him and preventing Whyte from fighting Joshua again.
“It is a fight that has some history,” Salita said. “Dillian did accept it once because he thought he would beat Otto. And Otto accepted it because he felt he would beat Dillian. The winner of Otto versus Whyte would be eligible to fight all the elite heavyweights.
“If Otto wins, it would make sense for him to fight the winner of Usyk versus Fury or to fight Joshua. But if Whyte wins, it would make sense for him to fight Joshua or Jermaine, really, because of their controversial fight. So, I feel like these four are kind of connected to each other and the winners would get tremendous benefits from a victory.”
Salita thought Wallin had a legitimate chance to become Joshua’s next opponent, until a few weeks ago. While Joshua eventually agreed to face another boxer Salita represents in Franklin, Wallin was left to take another tune-up fight and hope Whyte will again agree to fight him.
Wallin suffered a cut on his right eyelid against Olguin, but his handlers don’t think it would prohibit him from fighting Whyte in the spring.
“As a promoter, I made a commitment to my fighters to make sure they stay busy and progress themselves,” Salita said. “I always work to make the biggest and the best fights. However, when the big fights fall through, it’s my responsibility to keep my fighters busy. We did it with Claressa [Shields] during COVID, when we did an all-women’s pay-per-view show in Flint, and we did it with Otto.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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