Otto Wallin Camp Fumes in Wake of Dillian Whyte Fight Cancellation
by John “Gutterdandy” Walker
Leave it to the sport of boxing to find a way to waste any momentum it has accumulated with the sporting public.
In the wake of two excellent heavyweight title clashes recently — Oleksander Usyk’s dominant unanimous decision win over Anthony Joshua, and Tyson Fury’s obliteration of Deontay Wilder — boxing fans were eagerly looking forward to the next scheduled high-level installment from the glamor division between top ranked Dillian Whyte of the UK and Otto Wallin of Sweden.
Three great fights in a row, it seems, was too much to ask.
Wallin (22-1-0, 14 KOs) is the heavyweight who arguably gave Fury his toughest overall fight to date (Wilder actually only troubled the Gypsy King for a few select rounds over three fights).
During their clash, the 6’6″ tall Swede used his slick counterpunching abilities to confound Fury at times, inflicting two large gashes on the Brit’s face, one above his left eye courtesy of a wicked left hook. That cut was severe enough that the fight could have been waved off, but Fury gutted his way through to a UD win that nevertheless saw Wallin rocking him hard with big shots as the fight came to a close.
Though he lost to Fury, Otto Wallin had arrived at the top end of the heavyweight division.
Since that fight, Wallin has gone from strength to strength, and looked primed to provide Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs), who has been awaiting a title shot for what seems like forever, with some very stiff competition for their bout scheduled for October 30 in the UK.
But now, the fight has been cancelled amidst questionable circumstances, and Wallin has been left heartbroken and angry.
Wallin was getting ready to depart for the UK when he was informed via email that Whyte had injured his shoulder and the fight was cancelled. No supporting documentation was provided to the Wallin camp by Whyte’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing. Further queries have gone unanswered.
The sketchy details surrounding the cancellation have set Wallin and his camp on edge: a shot at WBC world heavyweight champ Tyson Fury awaits the winner of Wallin vs Whyte.
At a recent presser called to make their case, Wallin and his manager Dmitry Salita fumed about the situation. “I’ve been training very hard, and had my mind put into this,” lamented a downcast Wallin.
“Just the simple fact that I haven’t seen my family [in Sweden] in two years … I’ve been staying here [in the USA], training, to make sure I’ll be ready when this big opportunity comes. I was gonna go fight, win this fight, and then go back to Sweden to see everybody. It’s tough when you haven’t seen your mom in two years (Wallin’s father passed away before he fought Tyson Fury in 2019).”
Not helping matters is the fact that Whyte had publicly mused recently about skipping the tough Wallin challenge altogether and waiting for Fury to offer him a lucrative title bout in their native United Kingdom.
“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t looking at [future fights],” Whyte said. “I am definitely looking at fighting Fury and Wallin is a dangerous operator – he pushed Fury all the way.”
Those remarks seem more ominous now, in light of the last-minute cancellation of the fight. The suspicion is that Whyte simply decided to pull the plug and wait for Fury to come calling for a lucrative, all-UK showdown. Wallin is left with a lot of hard preparation that at the moment seems like it was for nothing.
“This is such a big opportunity,” said an agitated Dmitry Salida, Wallin’s manager. “[Wallin] put so much on the line. It’s so important that the right thing happens here.”
“Injuries happen in boxing,” Salida continued. “But there’s just so many circumstances in this particular situation that makes it so unsettling … all we want is the truth. That’s all we want.”
The right thing, according to Wallin and Salida, is a rescheduling of the bout. Faced with a lack of communication from Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing, the Wallin camp are appealing to the British Boxing Board of Control and the WBC to seek a remedy to the now fraught situation.
One thing the Wallin camp isn’t interested in, however, is an offer from Croatian heavyweight Alen “The Savage” Babic, who Whyte promotes, to take his boss’s place. Matchroom head honcho Hearn has since pushed for Wallin to take on “The Savage” instead of Whyte, but Salida scoffed at the suggestion.
“Otto Wallin is a world class fighter,” Salida said. “[Babic] is irrelevant. It’s just branding for whoever that person is. I’ve never heard of this guy before (Babic was scheduled to appear on the undercard of Wallin vs Whyte).”
The Wallin camp remain fearful that Whyte will be allowed to bypass the Swede altogether and proceed straight to a title fight with Tyson Fury. Salida feels Whyte has been spooked by many boxing scribes and promoters predicting a Wallin win against the Brit.
“I am a man of my word,” said Wallin. “We have a contract signed and we are supposed to fight. And I will honor that. I am very serious when it comes to contracts and giving my word on something.”
“The redo should happen” Salida added, “but we want to see proof [of Whyte’s injury]. That’s all we want. We want to see the truth, all we want is fairness.”
“And if the right thing doesn’t happen, it will be so detrimental to our sport.”
Interview: Otto Wallin is Ready to Take Home the EU Heavyweight Boxing Title
Otto Wallin (19-0, 13 KOs) is Sweden’s top Heavyweight and he is taking the division by storm. Wallin faces Adrian Granat (15-1, 14 KOs) this weekend at the Gardehov Ice Hockey Arena in Sundsvall, Sweden for the European Union Title.
How do you feel about fighting at home in Sweden?
“I love fighting at home so that is the biggest venue for me. I never had one special place except for home. When I started as a pro, boxing wasn’t really allowed in Sweden. There were a lot of restrictions, So I had my first 14 fights outside the country. It started last year, so that was when I had my first fight as a pro at home.
Fighting at home is the best. I feel a lot of support. I come from a small town, about 100 thousand people and I can just walk through the city and people are cheering me on. There is more at stake but I like it. I’ve always had my best fight at home as a professional and amateur. The support motivates me.”
Otto Wallin played other sports growing up, but found boxing around 15 or 16 and decided that was what he wanted to do.
“I played ice hockey and soccer and I wanted to be an ice hockey player as a kid. Eventually, I stopped those sports and went into boxing. I felt right away that it was for me. It was great and something that I immediately wanted to do”
Otto Wallin made his professional debut in 2013 and has been making a name for himself that extends far beyond his home country. Wallin now trains in New York City with his head coach Joey Gamache.
What do you think about life in New York?
“I was training with Joey Gamache in Denmark for four years. Last spring he moved back to New York. It is great to keep training with Joey. So, that is the most important thing.
There is so much going on here. A lot of heavyweights, great sparring – That is something that I lacked in Sweden and throughout Europe. It is great. I’m sparring with top guys, which is the most important thing for training.”
Are there any boxers or trainers (past or present) that you consider an inspiration or role model?
“My biggest inspiration is my trainer, Joey. He’s been there and done it as a world champ. I am confident with him and love training with him.”
What do you feel is the secret to success in this sport?
“If you look at the great fighters they usually have a big mentor. A trainer or someone who is by their side most of their careers. It is important to have a good team that you trust and you know you can go somewhere with. That has to be tough to change trainers. Trust. They know you and you know them. They are dedicated and serious which makes a difference.”
This next bout will be a big test for both boxers who have known each other since they were amateurs. There is no love lost between the two of them.
Otto Wallin is a gentleman by nature and doesn’t care for the Granat’s cocky demeanor.
“I think with that fight, I don’t like how he presents himself. How he says he will knock out and beat his opponents. You have to do it with class. You have to take every opponent seriously. This is business and you should respect everyone, win or lose.”
What makes you different from other guys in your division?
“I’m technically sound and I am built well and fast for a heavyweight.”
Standing over 6 feet 5 inches tall with an undefeated record, that statement is difficult to argue with. Despite being a heavyweight, Otto Wallin is conscious of his diet.
“I cook, which is good for me. There’s not much time when I’m not training. I hang out with friends. There is so much to see. It’s a beautiful city and great energy. Everyone has been very friendly.
When I have cheat days usually go for burgers. I love food. I’m in a Spanish neighborhood here. I also love ice cream.”
What has been the most difficult part of life as a professional boxer?
“Being away from family and friends. For me, that is the hardest part but it is worth it to be able to train and compete like I do.”
Joseph Parker Makes a Statement in Disappointing Bout
Joseph Parker Makes a Statement in Disappointing Bout
By: Eric Lunger
On Saturday night in New Zealand, Joseph Parker (20-0, 17 KO’s) was looking to move his career beyond his native islands, where he is something of a cult figure, and to join the mix at the top of the heavyweight division. Currently sitting at 7th in Ring Magazine’s ratings, Parker has not really fought anyone well known, or much of a challenge for that matter.
Enter Alexander Dimitrenko (38-2, 24 KO’s), a Germany-based Ukrainian heavyweight with 15 years of professional experience and only two losses (both against quality opposition). Dimitrenko is big (6’7”), possesses good skill and agility for his size, and was clearly a big step up for Parker.
Kevin Barry, Parker’s trainer admitted at the weigh-in on Friday that Dimitrenko was part of a plan for pushing Parker to the next level, though Barry was respectful enough to give credit to Dimitrenko for his preparation and for his potential danger as an opponent. Dimitrenko, in fact, weighed in at 253 lbs, and looked very fit. Parker was giving up 3 inches in height and 7 inches in reach.
But the real story of the fight was hand speed. Dimitrenko was clearly the larger and more powerful fighter, but that didn’t matter. Parker’s hands were simply too fast for the Ukrainian to process mentally and to defend. In the first round, Dimitrenko had good position, was establishing lead foot dominance to some extent, but every time he prepared his jab (left shoulder forward, prepping the strait right), Parker beat him to the punch, either jabbing to the body and then blasting up top, or simply countering with a left hook. The knock down with 1:40 left in the round was a result of a crisp left, right combination that Dimitrenko saw but could not defend.
In the second round, Dimitrenko was obviously trying to increase his activity level, but Parker caught him with a right hook after an awkward exchange.
Dimitrenko went down, but felt the punch was to the back of the head. Dimitrenko smiled wryly at the referee during the count, as though he knew he wasn’t going to get a break in that building. The second knock down was clearer, and again Dimitrenko simply could not cope with Parker’s hand speed.
The fight ended midway through the third round in a disappointing series of events, to say the least. Parker continued to land hard shots, and Dimitrenko began to close the distance and clinch. On the second clinch, Parker leaned on the bigger man and Dimitrenko dropped onto his left knee. With Dimitrenko down, Parker fired a vicious right-handed dig into Dimitrenko’s body. As the big Ukrainian writhed on the matt holding his ribs, referee Marlon White counted him out. Parker’s last shot came in a series of body punches. Was it a dirty punch? Probably not, Parker seemed to be finishing a sequence of blows. “Protect yourself at all times” is not just a formality in boxing, it’s an essential part of the sport. Dimitrenko hinted at this in the post fight, according to the New Zealand Herald, “He hit me, but OK, this is the boxing business, the heavyweight division. I was down on one knee but this is heavyweight boxing.”
Joseph Parker did what his team wanted him to do on Saturday. There is no question that has elite level skills and speed. Did he do enough to attract interest from the promoters of the big names in the division? Time will tell, but for me, Joseph Parker vs. Anthony Joshua would be a dynamic matchup, and a treat for boxing fans on both sides of the globe.
David Haye Wins in 2 Rounds with a Knockout Over Arnold Gjergjaj
David Haye wins in 2 rounds with a knockout over Arnold Gjergjaj
By: Stewart J Lawrence
With a fight simulating a 2-minute work out! David Haye destroys a fighter nicknamed the ‘Cobra’, but really had as much bite as a goldfish
The show was billed as the ‘Haye Maker HQ’, and had all the billing as the great comeback, and the man that was here to upset the Heavyweight division. Like the 6 Billion dollar man, he had been repaired (after shoulder surgery), made bigger, faster, stronger, and here to show everyone why he should be feared. Maybe that could have been the case, if he had a serious threat in the opposite corner. Unfortunately, he didn’t.
Haye came out of the corner, with his typical stance, hands relatively low, and stalking his prey. The ‘Cobra’, looked up for it! Was he going to prove all the doubters wrong? And show us that he was actually about to cause the upset he had been saying all week? Unfortunately not, and the first solid shot put him down. Haye sensing that it could be an early nights work, took his foot off the gas, and allowed the round to end. The second started, and again maybe the ‘Cobra’ could cause this upset! Unfortunately not, and with a straight jab, the Swiss man was down. This carried on, till Haye decided he’d had enough, and a flurry of punches later, the ref counted out (a very relieved) Arnold Gjergjaj.
David Haye scored a knockout, but the boxing community was far from impressed, with many fighters showing their disgust on social media. Even Barry McGuigan finding it hard to contain his contempt for what had been on display.
A poor fight that will not be helping David Haye’s cause.
Haye tried talking his opponent up after the fight, but he wasn’t convincing anyone. Haye said that ‘People thought I was the past, but I am still the future. Anthony Joshua is a fight I would relish, but next for me is Shannon Briggs. He came to England and talked a good game’.
When asked about his opponent, David defended the choice stating; ‘All the big names are in other fights. He has the longest unbeaten run in Heavyweight boxing. It’s not my fault I punch as hard.’
So next for David Haye will be Shannon Briggs in September and should be a tougher test than his two previous opponents. Either way, ‘The Hayemaker’ is back, and another fighter is vying to get into the exciting Heavyweight mix.