By: Sean Crose
Twenty wins. Zero losses. Thirteen wins by knockout. Otto Wallin has been quickly climbing the heavyweight ranks since turning pro in 2013. Having already established himself in his native Europe, the native of Sundsvall, Sweden is now in America, and ready to make his US debut against the 21-4-1 Nick Kisner this Saturday night at the famed Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The 10 round bout, which is on the undercard of the much anticipated Claressa Shields-Christina Hammer middleweight unification showdown, will be aired live on Showtime. It’s a coming out party, of sorts, one which the nearly 6’6, 28 year old heavyweight intends to make the most of.
Just how good is Wallin? His trainer, former two division champion Joey Gamache is on the record claiming Walin harkens back to greats like Pernell Whitaker and Willie Pep, two of the smoothest fighters to ever lace up a pair of gloves. Wallin and Gamache may come across like an odd couple, but the two men met in Denmark back in 2013, and have been a successful team ever since. “Training with Joey is great,” Wallin says. “We’ve been together for about six years now and we’re a great match.”
To Wallin, Gamache, who once held the WBA super featherweight title, as well as the WBA lightweight title, is more than a run of the mill trainer. “He’s become more than a trainer for me,” Walin adds, “and he’s making great decisions for me.” Wallin credits Gamache with helping him get an opportunity to make his mark in the US. “I’ve been in New York for three years with Joey,” Wallin says. “I’m used to the training. To be fighting on such a big card, there’s a lot more press than I’m used to. There’s been a lot of interviews and press conferences and I can feel that this is a big event.”
The US market is indeed enormous, but Wallin has big goals. Sweden hasn’t had a heavyweight king since Ingemar Johansson dethroned Floyd Patterson back in the late 1950s. Wallin wouldn’t mind bringing the heavyweight crown back home. “Sweden needs a boxing superstar that stands out,” he states, “and I want to be that person. I see good fighters in the heavyweight division. The top three fighters are really good. I want to take care of Saturday night, fight a couple more times this year and then next year I will be ready for a step-up in competition.”