By: Kirk Jackson
Heavyweight contender Otto Wallin (21-1, 14 KO’s) started his comeback path, scoring a technical knockout in his first fight in the 11 months, since losing to Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21 KO’s) in September of last year.
Wallin’s moniker of “All In” is fitting, considering his present standing, the current state of boxing and the world for that matter. The Swedish born heavyweight contender, has an opportunity with his recent exposure and aims to push his momentum forward towards championship acclaim.
“It’s just about me going out there and being myself, and take care of Kauffman,” Wallin said during Showtime’s virtual press conference leading up to this weekend’s event.
“He’s a good fighter, so I have to be alert at all times. But I feel like I’m better, I’m more young, fresh and everything. I just feel like I’m a better fighter. So, as long I go out there and just be myself and leave it all in the ring, everything will come in place and everybody will see that it wasn’t a fluke, that it wasn’t just a one-time thing, and that I am good, and that I am for real.”
Wallin took this opportunity serious and his preparation was reflected in his victory Saturday night.
“I think I got great momentum from that Fury fight because the world started noticing me,” said Wallin.
For his part, Travis Kauffman (32-4, 23 KO’s) placed forth a valiant effort, succumbing to a combination of Wallin’s physical assault and damage from a lingering injury to his left arm.
The injury in question, appeared to be a re-aggravation of some sort to the left shoulder/arm of Kauffman. The Pennsylvania native had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, after losing to heavyweight world title challenger Luis “King Kong” Ortiz (31-2, 26 KO’s) back in December of 2018.
Although victory alluded the long time challenger, Kauffman represented luminously for his late long-time trainer Naazim Richardson and for the tragically lost lives of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
No stranger to losing loved ones, Wallin also possessed awareness and understanding, entering the ring honoring the memory of Naazim Richardson and COVID-19 victims.
Wallin, famously faced Fury with a heavy heart, after losing his father months prior to his bout against “The Gypsy King.” Kauffman and Wallin also tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this year and fortunately recovered from the virus.
After a triumphant showing, the question is moving forward is how will the 29-year-old continue his wave of momentum? Parts of the puzzle, include the selection of the right opponent, along with the promotional company/network.
Originally, Wallin was supposed to return to the ring against Australia’s Lucas Browne (29-2, 25 KO’s) on March 28 at Park MGM in Las Vegas. Wallin withdrew from that bout due to a fractured bone in his left foot suffered in February.
But displaying the hallmark trait of resilience, Wallin was able to secure a fight during this bubble-like phase of sports. Now back on the winning trail, the rugged challenger is aiming to exact revenge against the only man to hand him professional defeat.
“Hopefully, I will get a title shot. I mean, I really did well with Fury and better than anybody has. So, you can take that and look at it and say that I am one of the top guys, for sure,” said Wallin. “But where I stand, it’s hard to tell. But I definitely think that I’m one of the top guys and I’m happy to be back fighting again, and can’t wait to show that. And then, you know, the champions are tied up with themselves and stuff.”
“We’ll see what’s gonna happen, but I feel like after the Fury fight nobody will have to take criticism for fighting me. So, they know that I’m good, hopefully, and they will give me another shot. I know that Fury, he’s always calling out a lot of guys, but he never mentions my name.”
The entire sports world has been on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with boxing finally picking back up in recent months. But because of this pandemic, there is a loss of funds, venues and other variables of uncertainty. As a result, scheduling bouts have become quite difficult.
But Wallin still prospers. Boasting appearances across ESPN and now Showtime in recent bouts, Wallin may be in position to become a staple among Premier Boxing Champions contemporaries. Former champions Deontay Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KO’s) and Andy Ruiz (33-2, 22 KO’s) are among the heavyweight royalty at the PBC stable.
Although it’s unlikely for Wallin to secure an immediate bout with one of the aforementioned Wilder or Ruiz, a bridge into eventually meeting Wilder at least, would be Wallin stepping in against the southpaw Ortiz. “King Kong” was a knock-out victim of Wilder on two occasions and a good way for Wallin to test his might would be pitting his ability against the technical monster.
Ortiz happened to stop Kauffman in the 10th round of Kauffman’s last appearance prior to facing Wallin, which came in December 2018 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The heavyweight division is a deep pool, rich with talent. “All In” is not out of his league. He displayed a gritty 12-round performance against current WBC and Ring Magazine heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. He sparred several rounds with current unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, while in the amateur ranks. Wallin held the WBA Continental heavyweight title in 2017 and won the EBU European Union heavyweight title in 2018.
It’s well noted Wallin is resilient, tough, fights well off his jab, and has a solid straight left hand – even buzzed Fury. Also possessing a strong fundamental base, Showtime punch-by-punch analyst Abner
Mares, remarked on Wallin’s clean, effective, punching ability.
Now, the Swedish born fighter is accruing experience necessary to make a push towards the top.
If Wallin continues to mow down the competition, he can position himself for a match against the likes of Wilder, Joshua or Fury.
If not one of those names, then against a steady staple of solid opponents until he reaches his goal, continuing the harvest, continuing to prosper.