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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.”
Otto Wallin makes his return to Sweden this coming weekend on April 21, headlining Sauerland Promotions “Battle of the Vikings.” This bout is highly anticipated, culminating a long-time rivalry.