Heavyweight contender Otto Wallin feels the conditions are all too favorable for him to spring an upset over Anthony Joshua.
The New York-based Swede is set to challenge London’s Joshua, the former unified heavyweight titlist, in the main event of a stacked fight card in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Dec. 23. The card also features Deontay Wilder vs. Joseph Parker, Dmitry Bivol vs. Lyndon Arthur, Daniel Dubois vs. Jarrell Miller, Jai Opetaia vs. Ellis Zorro, and Filip Hrgovic vs. Mark De Mori.
Wallin made a name for himself when he troubled Tyson Fury at times in their 12-round bout, in 2019, that Fury won by unanimous decision.
But the Swede’s career has stagnated since, although he has reeled off six straight wins since the loss to Fury, albeit over journeymen. The exception is his last fight, in September, which saw Wallin pick up a split decision over former cruiserweight titlist Murat Gassiev, who has suffered from inactivity in recent years.
Wallin is confident about his chances with Joshua, given his southpaw stance and the fact that their fight was made on relatively short notice. Wallin feels that Joshua’s reported decision to work with trainer Ben Davison for this fight —in a one-off—is another sign of weakness; Derrick James has trained Joshua for the past two fights and the two will apparently continue to work together in the future.
“Well, I just feel like it’s short notice [for Joshua],” Wallin told Boxing Social. “He’s working with a new trainer already. I don’t think he’s in a good place. Coming in on pretty short notice against a southpaw, again. It’s not a good idea and I’m gonna show him.”
“Definitely [I’m confident of beating Joshua], otherwise I wouldn’t take this fight,” Wallin added. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. I’m not going to let it pass by without a victory. I had a good fight with Fury, but I lost that fight and I’m not gonna lose again.
“I feel like I’m so ready for this fight and get the respect that I deserve. I think he’s on his way out. I think that he’s been a very good fighter, he deserves respect, but I just think his time is coming to an end and mine is just starting.”
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.