Boxing Insider Notebook: Stevenson, Wallin, Hunter, Monroe, DAZN, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of September 16th to September 23rd; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Stevenson-Gonzalez Tickets on Sale
Tickets for the highly anticipated vacant WBO featherweight world title fight between unbeaten stars Shakur Stevenson and Joet Gonzalez — Saturday, October 26 at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center — go on sale TODAY, September 23, at 10 a.m. PT.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Golden Boy, Let’s Get It On Promotions and Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, tickets for this world championship event priced at $110, $70 and $40 (not including applicable fees) can be purchased via Ticketmaster.com or in person at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa gift shop.
A pair of undefeated Northern Nevada-based prospects, JJ Mariano and Diego Elizondo, are slated to appear on the undercard.
Stevenson (12-0, 7 KOs), the WBO No. 1 contender, is no stranger to Reno fight fans. He won multiple national tournaments there as an amateur, including the U.S. Olympic Boxing Trials in late 2015. Stevenson went on to capture a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The 22-year-old last fought July 13 in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey, knocking out Alberto Guevara in the third round.
The 25-year-old Gonzalez (23-0, 14 KOs), the WBO No. 2 contender, is a seven-year pro who has scored three consecutive knockouts. A Los Angeles native, Gonzalez is coming off a sixth-round stoppage over Manuel Avila.
Stevenson-Gonzalez and a co-feature will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+, the leading multi-sport streaming service, beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. The entire undercard will stream on ESPN+ starting at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT.
DAZN to Launch on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex
DAZN, the world’s largest sports streaming service, is now available to Comcast customers on Xfinity Flex and will be available over the Internet to millions more on Xfinity X1 this fall, marking DAZN’s first distribution deal with a major U.S. video and internet provider.
“We’re thrilled to give our Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex customers access to DAZN’s live and on-demand programming starting this fall just in time for some of the most highly anticipated events in sports this year,” said Daniel Spinosa, Vice President, Entertainment Services for Comcast Cable. “With new content from partners like DAZN, coupled with our aggregated UI, X1 is the best way to experience live sports at home, and with Flex we can extend this great content, integrated experience and voice control to our Internet-only customers directly on their TVs.”
As part of a new global initiative DAZN for Operators, DAZN now provides a turnkey opportunity for cable, satellite, mobile and internet providers to offer DAZN’s premium sports content as a major value add to their customers.
“DAZN for Operators is our new partnership program, in which we collaborate with the world’s leading pay TV operators, ISPs and mobile carriers to make the live sports experience even more accessible and better to watch for fans,” said Ben King, DAZN SVP, Global Distribution and Business Development. “We couldn’t think of a better inaugural partner than Comcast.”
Later this year, customers will be able to find DAZN’s content more deeply integrated within the X1 and Flex experiences, including direct access within the sports hub, the ultimate destination for all things sports on X1 and Flex, and the ability to call up a specific program with the Xfinity Voice Remote (“show me ChangeUp”). Flex is now included with an Xfinity Internet-only subscription, providing new and existing customers with the ability to easily access their favorite streaming services and manage their connected home devices right on the TV.
The launch coincides with DAZN’s blockbuster fall schedule of combat sports events. “Fight Season on DAZN” features:
– Oct. 5 – Triple G vs. Sergiy Derevyanchenko – IBF Middleweight World Championship
– Oct. 26 – Bellator 232: Rory MacDonald vs. Douglas Lima – Welterweight Championship
– Nov. 2 – Canelo Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev – WBO Light Heavyweight Championship
– Nov. 9 – KSI vs. Logan Paul II
– Dec. 7 – Andy Ruiz vs. Anthony Joshua II – WBA, WBO, IBF Heavyweight World Championship
Since its introduction to the U.S. market in September 2018, DAZN has continued to add to its content portfolio, which includes thousands of live and on-demand sporting and other events each year. In April, it premiered a live MLB show ChangeUp that features the best action from around the league each day. The service also unveiled a new docu-series 40 DAYS which pairs celebrity executive producers with boxers to document their preparation leading up to fight night. On Sept. 9, the long-awaited daily talk show from former NFL All-Pro punter Pat McAfee launched on DAZN.
DAZN offers an annual pass for $99.99, and also a monthly option at $19.99 for those customers more focused on flexibility.
Wallin Returns to Hero’s Welcome in Sweden After Battle with Tyson Fury
Newly emerged top heavyweight contender Otto Wallin enjoyed a national hero’s homecoming yesterday in his native Sweden.
Basking in the glory earned by his epic stand against lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas last Saturday, September 14, Wallin was greeted at Stockholm airport by countrymen eager to celebrate with their newest sports star and then whisked off for a national media tour.
“It felt great to have such a welcome at home in Sweden,” said a proud Wallin. “The media and the people are really backing me more and more and that’s awesome. Boxing in Sweden needs all the attention it can get and it feels good to be part of helping boxing at home and to be a role model for the kids.”
Wallin sat for several interviews including Sweden’s national publicly funded radio, Sveriges Radio, important sports newspaper Sportbladet and gave an emotional tribute to his late father in SVT’s popular Morning Studio, watched by 36.4% of the country.
Though Wallin was ultimately deemed to have lost on the scorecards after 12 tough rounds, the respect he earned from Fury and boxing fans worldwide has instantly taken him to recognizable status on the heavyweight boxing landscape.
“Otto had an outstanding fight against Tyson Fury and a well-deserved hero’s welcome in his homeland,” said his promoter, Dmitriy Salita. “Although he didn’t get to take home the belt, it feels like he did to his fans in Sweden. As he said after the fight, it was a great learning experience and he’s definitely proven to himself and the boxing world that he is a big part of the heavyweight division. The sky is the limit for Otto and I am very happy that he has achieved celebrity athlete status in the US and back home in Sweden.”
Wallin is scheduled for additional Swedish media appearances today and the rest of the week.
Kevin Hunter Ready to Challenge the Elite in the 140 Pound Division
Prince Ranch Boxing’s undefeated super lightweight, Keith “The Bounty” Hunter (11-0, 7 KOs), now ranked WBA #12, is ready to face anyone in the top ten of the 140-pound division as he enters contender status.
Hunter who recently out boxed Cameron Kreal (16-14-3, 4 KOs) by a wide decision, a fighter who despite his record not looking the best, was a heavily avoided fighter. In his previous fight before that, Hunter defeated, Sanjarbek Rakhmanov (11-2-1, 5 KOs) by split decision. Both wins come on his opponents home turf. Hunter has continuously looked to fight the best and is creating momentum organically through each performance.
“I have faced tough opposition in my last two bouts beating Cameron Kreal and Sanjarbek Rakhmanov, both who were fighting on the “A” side with their promoter, Mayweather Promotions,” said Keith Hunter, who is promoted by Greg Cohen Promotions. “I feel I am ready to face the best and this world ranking just puts me closer to getting those fights.”
Keith Hunter, who is the younger brother of Heavyweight contender, Michael Hunter (18-1, 12 KOs), comes from a boxing family. His father Michael Hunter Sr. (26-7-2, 8 KOs), had a successful career in the 80’s.
“I am fighting mostly as professional since people don’t put enough respect on my father’s name, and I feel that continuing his legacy is very important to me,” Hunter continued. “I am excited for what the future holds and like I said, I’m ready for anyone.”
“Hunter is a special fighter, he is talented, but also is a courageous fighter, who fights with tremendous heart,” said Prince Ranch Boxing’s CEO Greg Hannley. “It is exciting to see that he is now ranked in the top fifteen of the WBA as this can lead to some great fights in the future.”
Hunter is currently ranked #12 by the WBA and is awaiting a fight date as he looks to fight for a top ten opponent.
Carlos Monroe to Defend Title on Saturday in Atlanta
On Saturday, September 26 at Buckhead Theater in Atlanta, World Boxing Association Fedalatin Champion Carlos Monroe, in his biggest fight to date, defends his title against former world title challenger Javier Francisco Maciel. In the co-feature, Eric Moon will fight Mike Guy for the American Boxing Federation (ABF) title, as there will be eight bouts in all.
Proceeds from the event will go to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta.
Carlos Monroe (16-0, 13 KOs) was born in Chicago and moved to Atlanta age 3. As an amateur he won NINE consecutive Georgia State Golden Gloves tournaments. He also was two-time Florida State Golden Gloves champion. “Every year I competed n the state Golden Gloves, I won,” stated Carlos. In the 2015 Olympic trials, even though Carlos won his final bout, he was unable to fight further due to a major cut from an accidental head butt.
Monroe, coached by trainer of world champions Stacie McKinley, made his professional debut on December 16, 2017 and had ten fights in 2018, and this will be his sixth this year. “This is my biggest fight, to date,” said Carlos. “ I have been training in Pompano Beach, Florida, with a lot of sparring partners with different styles, so I am good about making adjustments on the fly. I don’t feel any threats in the ring. Javier is a game opponent and fought a few big names. He comes forward and is a pressure fighter, and I like that.” Monroe likes to work the body and “most of my stoppages have come from body shots.” Carlos lives about twenty minutes outside of Atlanta and will have many family and friends at the fight.
“Carlos is very smart, listens well and is a hard worker,” said McKinley, who has trained Mike Tyson and numerous middleweight world champions. “He has unusual hand speed, and power at the same time. This fight is a step up for him and after that, there will be another step up. I have big plans for him. He leaves home and comes here for to train, has a fight, goes home for week then comes back for another six to eight weeks. He is not just training boxing, he is living boxing and that’s what you need to do to become great. He has a young daughter now and a wonderful promoter, Judy Starkey, who has invested a lot in Carlos to provide for him what he needs to be successful.”
Javier Francisco Maciel (33-8, 23 KOs) from Buenos Aires, Argentina, has fought for the World Boxing Association world middleweight championship and has won numerous regional titles. Maciel has fought world champion Dmitry Pirog and world title challengers Willie Monroe Jr., Francisco Antonio Mora.
“We are so thankful to partners like this that support the nearly 3,000 kids that attend our Clubs each day and help them reach their full potential,” said Missy Dugan, CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta. “Through sports, youth build skills that will serve them now and throughout their lives including self-confidence, good sportsmanship, discipline, and an appreciation of healthy living and exercise.” Kids from several local Clubs will attend. Event organizers are Judy Starkey, an accomplished Atlanta businesswoman and Harry Barnett, who has been involved in boxing for over sixty years as a boxer, manager and promoter.
What’s Next For Otto Wallin?
By: Hans Themistode
The world has officially been introduced to Otto Wallin (20-1, 13 KOs). The Swedish born fighter gave Lineal Champion Tyson Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) hell for 12 rounds on September 14th, at the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Wallin was an obscure name to say the least. With his performance he let the rest of the division know that he is a major player. At just the age of 28, there is reason to believe that Wallin has plenty of room to improve. Before he stepped into the ring at the T-Mobile arena, he hadn’t fought a full fight in over a year.
Photo Credit: Henry Deleon
Wallin didn’t just hold his own against Fury, he performed better than arguably anyone ever has against him. According to CompuBox, Wallin landed more punches on Fury than anyone he has ever stepped in the ring with. For a comparison, Wallin landed 127 shots, while much more notable names such as Wladimir Klitschko and Deontay Wilder landed just 123 punches Combined! In short, Wallin put on a great performance. Possibly the best against Fury.
Wallin will have promoters lined up at his doorstep looking to sign him. The three major players for his services would be PBC, Matchroom and of course Top Rank. All three have a large enough stable of Heavyweights to keep Wallin busy.
Who he signs with is anyones guess but we went ahead and gave a full breakdown of who his next opponent could be depending on he decides to sign with next.
If Wallin inks a Deal with PBC and Al Haymon
The undefeated Adam Kownacki (20-0, 15 KOs) is coming off his own fight of the year candidate against Chris Arreola on August 3rd, at the Barclay Center, in Brooklyn, New York. Kownacki is earning quite the name for himself as a guy who loves to stand in the middle of the ring and trade big shots all night. We all just witnessed Wallin in a war against Fury, a match against Kownacki would bombs away from the opening bell.
It wasn’t a pretty site for Dominic Breazeale (20-2, 18 KOs) the last time he was seen in the ring. It took WBC champion Deontay Wilder just one round to get rid of him. If he wants to be viewed as a real contender in the Heavyweight division then he needs a good win in his next contest. As for Wallin, he could use the experience against a tough and rugged competitor like Breazeale. It would be a big fight them both.
Did you know that at one point Charles Martin (27-2-1, 24 KOs) was a Heavyweight champion? His reign didn’t last long but he will forever be labeled as a former champion. A win over someone with that sort of status is exactly what Wallin needs in order to continue his upward trajectory.
His Options with Bob Arum and ESPN
Since losing his lone shot at a title against Wladimir Klitschko back in 2014, Kubrat Pulev (27-1, 14 KOs) has won seven fights in a row. He has managed to work his way to a mandatory position with the IBF but we all know that it’ll be a while before he gets a shot at a world title. What Pulev needs is a statement. In steps, Otto Wallin. After just taking arguably the best Heavyweight in the division through hell and back Wallin is a big fight for just about anyone now. A win against Pulev who has only lost to one of the best Heavyweight champions of all-time would boost his stock tremendously.
We all know that Bryant Jennings (24-4, 14 KOs) is not a true contender in the Heavyweight division but he is still a respectable name. Outside of Fury, Wallin really doesn’t have a notable name on his record. It’s time to start building his experience with better opponents. Jennings would provide Wallin with a stiff test, one that he should pass but the experience would benefit him in the long run.
Tyson Fury Rematch
Tyson Fury is hardly ever in an exciting fight. That’s because he can easily outbox his opponents and turn it into a boring contest. In his fight against Wallin, he was forced to actually fight. You can make the argument that it was the toughest fight of his career. We all understand that he is scheduled to take on Deontay Wilder in a rematch early next year but if that contest falls apart for some reason, then let’s see these two do it again.
If Wallin Signs With Eddie Hearn and Matchroom
Dillian Whyte (26-1, 18 KOs) has a few issues that he is dealing with right now, after testing positive for a banned substance. If he can get past those problems then a matchup between Wallin and Whyte makes a lot of sense for both of them. Whyte has been calling for his crack at a world title and has defeated everyone that he has needed to in order to make it happen. Wallin might not have the pedigree that Whyte possesses but he showed that he is one helluva fighter. The winner of this contest could vault to the front of the line as the next to contend for a title.
It looked like Heavyweight contender Dave Allen (17-5-2, 14 KOs) was on his way to a career rival. After losing the biggest fights of his career to Dillian Whyte and Luis Ortiz, the prevailing thought was that he couldn’t get it done against good competition. That thought was reinforced when he lost a close decision to non contender Lenroy Thomas. Things finally started to turn around for Allen as he won the biggest fight of his career against Lucas Browne. He couldn’t continue his good roll as he was knocked out against David Price earlier this year. Currently he has nothing on his schedule for a return fight. After a career defining performance, Wallin most likely wants to enter the ring as soon as possible. If he decides to sign with Matchroom, this is a must see matchup.
Michael Hunter (18-1, 12 KOs) has quietly been building a name for himself. His only blemish on his record was a contest against Oleksandr Usyk at Cruiserweight. Since moving up in weight, he has gone 6-0 with 4 of those wins coming via stoppage. He most recently was seen in the ring on September 13th, easily winning against Sergey Kuzmin. Both Wallin and Hunter are big guys who love to bang. Let’s hope the fans get to see this fun matchup soon.
Regardless of where Otto Wallin chooses to sign, his options will be aplenty. With more experience and more activity he could challenge anyone. He may have been an unknown fighter before, but now, everyone knows the name, Otto Wallin.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Wallin, Bey, Atlantic City, Canelo, Kovalev, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of September 9th to September 16th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Dmitriy Salita Congratulates Boxing’s Newest Elite Heavyweight, Otto Wallin
Dmitriy Salita, promoter of the fighter everyone is talking about this morning, Otto Wallin, wishes to congratulate the giant Swede for his unveiling and ascension into elite-level status in heavyweight boxing.
Despite coming in as a 25-1 underdog against lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury on Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, the fearless southpaw Wallin took the fight to Fury in a spirited challenge, cutting him twice and hurting him badly in the 12th and final round.
The previously unknown Wallin can no longer be ignored in the landscape of top heavies and promoter Salita, who repeatedly predicted an upset in the weeks leading up to the fight, says he’s extremely proud of the 28-year-old from Sundsvall, Sweden.
“Otto showed he is undoubtedly a top heavyweight,” said Salita. “He landed more punches on Fury than anyone ever has according to CompuBox. He was relentless and fearless. I am so proud of him and his incredible performance.”
Statistics don’t lie. Wallin’s 127 landed (total) punches were indeed the most ever tracked by a Fury opponent. By comparison, Deontay Wilder landed just 71 against Fury and Wladimir Klitschko only 52.
Through six rounds, as the doctor’s were checking Fury’s 40-plus stitch cut (caused by a clean punch) the punch stats were virtually even with Wallin landing with much better accuracy. The fight was capped by Wallin’s heart-stopping final round where he chased a staggered and exhausted Fury around the ring and landed 23 of 37 punches compared to Fury’s 10 of 42.
Though the final scores were 116-112, 117-111 and 118-110 for Fury, the world is now abuzz with Wallin’s “victory in defeat.”
“We knew what we had when we signed him and now the world knows,” continued Salita. “Otto had boxed less than one round in 16 months coming in and still did all that. It was a real-life Rocky moment and he deserves all the praise pouring in. The sky is now the limit for this unstoppable young man.”
Atlantic City Hall of Fame Announces the Launch of Its Legends Corner
The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame (ACBHOF) is pleased to announce the launch of its Legends Corner on its Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame website. The ACBHOF and its exclusive apparel partner Fight Night Apparel has teamed up with a few Boxing Legends who’ve helped make Atlantic City a recognizable boxing destination.
“Merciless” Ray Mercer will be the first Atlantic City Boxing Legend to introduce his new fan gear to his many boxing fans around the world on ACBHOF Website. “I am honored to be the first to partner with the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame and I believe this collaboration will be a winning combination, especially for my fans,” said Ray Mercer.
Ray Mercer was a 2018 ACBHOF Inductee, the 1988 Olympic Gold Medal winner in the Heavyweight Division, as well WBO Heavyweight Champion. Stay tuned for more announcements about upcoming events and the unveiling of 2020 ACBHOF Induction Class.
The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame continues to celebrate our 3rd Annual Induction Weekend which took place this past June, where we enshrined our 2019 Induction Class into the Atlantic City Hall of Fame.
The 2019 luminaries: Bernard Hopkins, Tim Witherspoon, Iran Barkley, Roberto Duran, Micky Ward, Kevin Watts, John Brown, Virgil Hill, Butch Lewis, English Bouie Fisher, Bobby Goodman, Ace Marotta, Jimmy Binns, Sr., Stan Hoffman, Nigel Collins, Henry Hascup, Tom Kaczmarek, Tony Orlando Jr., and Rhonda Utley-Herring.
We are pleased to recognize and thank our sponsors:
The Claridge Hotel, City of Atlantic City, FantaSea Resorts, Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall, Made Atlantic City Chocolate Bar, Adams Boxing, SparBar, WBC, IBF, and Fight Night Apparel.
Canelo Alvarez to Challenge Sergey Kovalev for WBO World Light Heavyweight World Title
Canelo Alvarez (51-1-2, 34 KOs), the face of boxing and the king of the middleweight division, will take on a new challenge as he moves into the 175-pound weight class in a 12-round bout against champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (34-3-1, 28 KOs) for the WBO Light Heavyweight World Title. The event will take place Saturday, Nov. 2 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas and will be streamed exclusively live on DAZN in all of its nine markets, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan.
Tickets for Canelo vs. Kovalev are priced at $1,754, $1,254, $854, $654, $404 and $204, not including applicable service charges and taxes. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call 888-9-AXS-TIX (888-929-7849). Tickets also will be available for purchase at www.axs.com.
“We promised to make this fight happen, and now we are delivering it,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy. “Historic fights have been a hallmark of this company, and we are pleased to once again live up to the high expectations we’ve set for our fans. The best pound-for-pound fighter is also boxing’s biggest star. Few fighters in boxing’s history can claim to be both like Canelo Alvarez. Now, he’ll look to become a four-division world champion against one of the most dangerous fighters of recent years, and I’m certain that he will stop him. There’s no better home for this than on the DAZN platform or live at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.”
Canelo, the 29-year-old native of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, became the face of boxing by taking on some of the biggest names in the sport. At 154 pounds, Canelo captured several world titles and defeated the likes of Austin “No Doubt” Trout, Sugar Shane Mosley, Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo, Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara and Liam “Beefy” Smith.
At 160 pounds, Canelo defeated Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs to establish himself as the king of the middleweight division. And, shortly after signing a groundbreaking partnership with global sports streaming giant DAZN, Canelo moved into the 168-pound division by stopping Rocky Fielding in three rounds to become the WBA Super Middleweight World Champion.
Canelo will now look to make history once again by becoming the second Mexican boxer to hold a world title in the light heavyweight division, a feat only done by Julio Cesar Gonzalez in 2003. The pound-for-pound king will at the same time join an elite group of four-division world champions from Mexico.
“The second phase of my career is continuing just as we had planned, and that’s why we are continuing to make great fights to enter into the history books of boxing,” said Canelo Alvarez. “That’s also why I’ve decided to jump two weight classes against one of the most feared champions of recent years. Kovalev is a dangerous puncher, and he’s naturally the bigger man, but that’s the kind of challenges and risks that I like to face.”
On November 2nd, Kovalev, 36, will participate in his 17thconsecutive world title bout and the most lucrative fight of his career against the biggest star in boxing. A Russian knockout artist and three-time light heavyweight world champion, “Krusher” is no stranger to fighting in hostile territory. He captured the WBO Light Heavyweight World Title in 2013 when he traveled to Wales and scored a stunning knockout of Nathan Cleverly. Kovalev traveled to Atlantic City to meet future Hall of Famer Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins near his Philadelphia home to unify the WBO, WBA and IBF titles with a lopsided unanimous decision victory in 2014.As unified champion, “Krusher” successfully defended his titles twice against current WBA Interim Light Heavyweight titleholder Jean Pascal in Pascal’s hometown of Montreal, scoring a stoppage victory both times.
Kovalev suffered two controversial losses to former Olympic Gold medalist Andre Ward (in 2016 and 2017) and a surprise upset to Eleider Alvarez last year, but quickly regained his WBO Light Heavyweight Title each time. In August, the road warrior finally got the chance to fight in his own hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia, stopping undefeated mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde in a sold-out arena.
When asked about this fight, Kovalev said, “In order to be the best you have to beat the best. I have always tried to fight the toughest opponents in my division, but many have ducked me throughout my career. Canelo wanted to fight me; to step up to higher weight and challenge for my belt. I will be ready on November 2nd. Thank you, Main Events, Kathy Duva, Egis Klimas, DAZN and Canelo for making this fight happen.”
“Canelo is to be praised for asking to challenge Sergey Kovalev,” added Main Events’ CEO Kathy Duva. “Win or lose, he will make history and Sergey is extremely pleased to get the chance to test his mettle against another future Hall of Famer.” She continued, “Anyone who cares at all about the Sweet Science should circle November 2ndon their calendar. I have a feeling that this will be one for the ages.”
“Canelo vs. Kovalev is a fascinating matchup between champions that will highlight our entire season of premium fights on DAZN over the next several months,” said DAZN Group Executive Chairman John Skipper. “Simply stated, this is the best schedule in boxing history.”
Richard Sturm, President of Las Vegas Live Entertainment and Sports, said, “We look forward to hosting this tremendous matchup between Canelo and Kovalev at MGM Grand in November. These two great fighters always put on a fantastic show and we are confident they will, once again, provide boxing fans worldwide a thrilling fight when they return to Las Vegas.”
Canelo vs. Kovalev is a 12-round fight for the WBO Light Heavyweight World Title presented by Golden Boy, Main Events and Krusher Promotions. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING,” Hennessy “Never Stop. Never Settle” and Brand-New Grapefruit Crush, Knockout Flavor.The event will take place Saturday, Nov. 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN.
Mickey Bey Sets the Record on his Team and Future Plans
On Tuesday a press release was published that stated former lightweight champion Mickey Bey had signed with a new promoter and is looking to jump start his career after being very inactive the past few years.
Bey, who had a decorated amateur career, signed with Greg Cohen Promotions to go along with his managerial and advisory team.
In this Q&A session Bey sets the record straight on his team and his plans as he works his way back to a world title shot.
Question: A Press release recently circulated that stated that you signed a promotional agreement with Greg Cohen Promotions and recently signed an advisory deal with Andre Rozier’s Havoc Management and Advisory Inc. What can you tell us about your team?
Bey: Yes, it’s a great team with all good energy with people who want to see me win. I got a great team which includes Oscar Vazquez and Greg Hannley. I appreciate what they guys do. They collectively made sure I was going to finish my career with a bang and achieve more success and get back to the top.
Question: Will Rozier be training you or who are you going to be working with as far as your training team?
Bey: He will be a part of my camp and also I have been working with Stephen “Breadman” Edwards and Mark “Too Sharp” while I’ve been out of the ring. I have been learning more and staying sharp. Mark ed”Too Sharp” Johnson was just out here in Vegas training me and helped sharpen me up.
Question: Are you still working with Greg Hannley, and Prince Ranch Boxing?
Bey: Greg plays a huge role in my career and he cares about my well being so all the guys I mentioned are my backbone and will get me where I need to be.
Question: You have only fought twice in the past four years. At 36 years old are you looking to become very active in the near future to get yourself back in title position?
Bey: Yes absolutely and I’ll come back better than I was before. I’m preserved and I live clean all year around. I live like a fighter although I haven’t been fighting. I’ll return very freakish like a 25 year old. Besides, all the best athletes in the world in every sport are over 30 nowadays but I’m blessed. I feel youthful and I’m a lot smarter.
Question: You know what it is like to be a champion, having beaten Miguel Vazquez. How badly do you want to a champion now versus when you first became one?
Bey: Yes, but to be honest I fought with tendons out of place and bone spurs in my hand and got surgery after that fight and the fight sucked and I didn’t get to really enjoy it. Long story short, weird things start happening to me behind the scenes that I’ll later discuss on video in entirety. But I want some real fights and tough opponents. That’s what I enjoy.
Question: It is no secret that you weren’t on the best of terms at Mayweather Promotions and that is part of why you were out of the ring for so long. In hindsight do you wish you had done things differently or is there anything you wish you could change?
Bey: No. Honestly, I can say this, I made a couple small business decisions that weren’t the best before coming to them. I would change my thinking from now on but with them I straight took a backseat and never negotiated and never asked questions or anything and it came back to bite me very hard! It did start out great. I was forgiving when I asked for a release last year and I got it but I never in a million years thought certain people over there would sabotage big things I had on the table. It was devastating the things happening to me behind the scenes. I’m just glad I’m a strong and positive person. I held on to my dream and didn’t give up.
Question: You won your title at 135 but recently said that you may move down in weight which would be unusual because as fighters get older they usually move up in weight. Which weight class do you feel is the best for you at this particular time?
Bey: Most fighters shed 15-30 pounds or more I don’t but it really doesn’t matter to me. Most of my career I fought between 130-135 but an opportunity came up to fight Vazquez because nobody wanted to fight him at the time so I accepted and won and stayed there. My team sees my weight and asked since I’m not heavy would I take opportunities at either weight. I said of course I will. I’ll fight anybody in either weight class. I just want good fights. I don’t worry about weight. I’m ready for combat.
Question: When do you plan on fighting next?
Bey: I should have a announcement pretty soon
Question: Anything else you would like to discuss?
Bey: Once again I just want to thank God, Greg Hannley , Havoc Boxing, Oscar Vazquez and Greg Cohen for having my back and working relentlessly to get me back in the ring
Question: Anything you would like to say to the fans?
Bey: Please tune in when I fight. I’ll give it all I have and God bless.
Tyson Fury Overcomes an Explosive Otto Wallin Upset Bid
By: Hans Themistode
What a fight!
Lineal Heavyweight champion Tyson Fury avoided a major upset tonight. The T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas, Nevada played host to Fury and formerly undefeated contender Otto Wallin. This was nothing more than a glorified sparring match. At least, that’s what it was supposed to be.
Photo Credit: BT Sport Twitter Account
Fury had been in the ring with some of the very best including long time unified champion Wladimir Klitschko and current WBC belt holder Deontay Wilder. Wallin had never stood across the ring from anyone in the top 20 of the division, let alone someone who many believe is the best that the division has to offer. A quick knockout against the obscure Wallin was expected. Unfortunately for Fury, this is the sport of boxing and usually nothing goes according to plan. Tonight, he quickly found out that his seemingly soft touch, was anything but.
Things started off a bit ragged. Fury, who had the advantages in terms of height and reach tried to stay on the outside but Wallin would hear none of it. He bullied his way on the inside and made it a real dog fight from the very beginning. Fury began to find his range in the second, buzzing Wallin several times and making him pay for his over aggression.
With things seemingly even on the scorecards, Wallin had himself a huge third round as he landed a left hand on the elusive Fury which opened up one of the worse cuts you’ll see in a boxing match. Blood was pouring everywhere as Fury found it hard to see due to the cut. To make matters worse for Fury, the Nevada state commission deemed that the cut was in fact due to a punch which meant that if the fight was stopped, he would lose and the contest would not have to go to the scorecards.
The usual calm and cool Fury was now losing his patience in the fourth round. Blood was flowing from his eye and he had several words for Wallin while the two were in the ring as it became a target for Wallin’s offensive attack. Soon after, another cut was opened up and Fury found himself in even worse trouble. He was boxing well but from the looks of the cuts it seemed as though he was in real danger of being defeated tonight.
The half way mark of the contest saw referee Tony Weeks place a brief hold on the bout as he forced the ring physician to take a look at the wounds of Fury. Luckily for him he was allowed to fight but Wallin continued to do well. Fury had a sense of urgency in his attacks now. The Lineal champ is known for his abilities to outbox his opponents but with his cuts threatening to put an end to this contest early he was forced to put the pedal to the metal. Wallin welcomed the more aggressive Fury with his own aggression and continued to get the better of him.
No one can ever question the heart of Fury as he turned up the heat in the second half of the fight. He landed big shot after big shot which forced Wallin back. It was also becoming apparent that Wallin was beginning to fatigue in there.
In the championship rounds was were Fury truly showed his grit. He hit Wallin with everything he had and had his man hurt on several occasions. With his opportunity slipping away, Wallin gave it one last hurrah in the final round. He landed several huge left hands in the round which made Fury paw at his injured left eye. Fury began to back up and seemed to be in trouble. Wallin, unfortunately didn’t have enough time to continue his attack as the bell rang.
The three judges watching the bout were called to give their verdict on how they saw this contest play out. It was a unanimous decision victory for Fury as the judges scored it 116-112, 117-111 and 118-110 all in favor of Tyson Fury.
The win may have taken away the undefeated record of Wallin but he has cemented himself as a true contender in the Heavyweight division. As for Fury, he now heads towards a 2020 clash with WBC champion Deontay Wilder.
“Deontay Wilder,” yelled Fury during his post fight interview. “I want you next bum.”
With Wilder already having to deal with his own challenge in Luis Ortiz on November 23rd, these two are on a collision course for the first quarter of 2020.
Fury vs. Wallin, Navarrete vs. Elorde Fight Previews
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada the Lineal Heavyweight Champion of the World, Tyson Fury, will make his return to the Mecca of boxing.
Tyson Fury will be taking on undefeated challenger Otto Wallin on ESPN+. This bout will be promoted by Top Rank Promotions in association with Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions. Tyson Fury was fighting in Las Vegas in his last bout and has made a quick return to the ring.
The co-main event of the evening is a WBO Junior Featherweight Title Bout between Emanuel Navarrete and Juan Miguel Elorde. Other boxers on the undercard include a junior welterweight bout between Jose Pedraza and Jose Zepeda and a junior bantamweight bout between Carlos Cuadras and Jose Maria Cardenas.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the night.
Emanuel Navarrete (28-1) vs. Juan Miguel Elorde (28-1); WBO Junior Featherweight Title
Navarrete exploded into the scene with his back to back victories over former champion, Isaac Dogboe, in convincing fashion.
On Saturday he’ll be facing the grandson of a Filipino Legend, Flash Elorde, in the co-main event of the evening for his WBO Junior Featherweight Title.
Navarrete will be giving up about one inch in height to Elorde, but he will have a significant age advantage as he is eight years younger. Navarrete will also have the power advantage as he has twenty four stoppages on his resume, while Elrode only has fifteen.
Both boxers have been fairly active. Navarrete fought twice in 2019 and four times in 2018. Elrode fought once in 2019 and three times in 2018.
Navarrete has beaten the likes of Francisco De Vaca, Isaac Dogboe (twice), Jose Sanmartin, Glen Porras, and Luis Bedolla Orozco. His lone loss was early on in his career, in 2012, to Daniel Argueta by decision.
Elorde has spent almost his entire career fighting either in the Philippines or Malaysia. He fought once in the United States, and lost to Jerry Guevara in 2011.
Elorde has no big name wins on his record. But his most notable victories include Shohei Kawashima, Ratchanon Sawangsoda, Likit Chane, and Terdchai Doungmontree.
This fight should be an easy victory for Navarrete. Elorde brings a well known name in the boxing community into the ring, but there’s nothing in his resume that indicates he should be a tough fight for Navarrete.
Tyson Fury (28-0-1) vs. Otto Wallin (20-0); Heavyweight Division
Tyson Fury competed in one of the most exciting fights of 2018 when he fought to a draw with Deontay Wilder. Since then he has looked to be in tremendous shape and completed dedicated to the sport of boxing and keeping his undefeated record intact.
However, he has chosen an opponent that not many give a chance at giving Fury the first loss in his career.
Wallin has spent most of his career fighting in Europe and Saturday will be his second fight in the United States.
Fury will have about three and a half inches in height in Wallin and about seven inches in reach. Both boxers have been fairly active recently, Wallin fought once in 2019 and twice in 2018, while Fury fought once in 2019 and three times in 2018.
Wallin does have an edge in age, as he is three years younger than Tyson Fury, who is thirty one.
Wallin doesn’t have a notable amateur career while Fury is a former Gold Medalist in the European Union Junior Championships.
Fury has defeated the likes of Tom Schwarz, Francesco Pianeta, Sefer Seferi, Wladimir Klitschko, Christian Hammer, Dereck Chisora, Steve Cunningham, and Kevin Johnson.
It should be noted that Fury didn’t fight for nearly three years after defeating Klitschko.
Wallin doesn’t have any notable victories on his resume. His biggest wins were against Adrian Granat, Raphael Zumbano, Osborne Machimana, and Irineu Beato Costa Junior.
Fury has possible big money fights against either Deontay Wilder or Anthony Joshua in the future. It doesn’t appear that Wallin will stop those fights from happening.
Otto Wallin Fight Week Interview: “I Feel Very Well Prepared”
By: Sean Crose
“I had a tough training camp,” says Otto Wallin, “with a lot of quality sparring and many rounds in the bank. I feel very well prepared for Saturday.” By “tough,” of course, Wallin means successful. Camp shouldn’t be easy when one’s preparing to battle one of the most colorful and high profile boxers on the planet, Tyson Fury. “I feel great,” Wallin adds just days before his heavyweight battle with Fury at the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas. “I’m very excited about this opportunity and I want to leave everything in the ring on Saturday.” This weekend represents the opportunity of a lifetime for the 20-0 native of Sweden. Should he defeat the 28-0-1 Fury, it would be a shocking upset, perhaps even more thunderous than Andy Ruiz’ stunning victory over Anthony Joshua last June at Madison Square Garden.
For Wallin isn’t a widely known commodity. Although the man has yet to lose a professional bout, many feel that he’s simply being sent into the ring to keep the flamboyant Fury busy until bigger fights come along. Fury himself has been busy talking about other fighters rather than the individual whose been focused for weeks on beating him. “I hope he’s focusing on other fighters and looking past me,” says Wallin, who doesn’t come across as one who gets easily rattled. “That would make it easier for me!”
One advantage Fury will have over Wallin is the fact that he’s been through the media circus before. He’s beaten Wladimir Klitschko…and battled Deontay Wilder to a draw. Those were two highly covered bouts, which means the Englishman knows what it’s like to be in the spotlight, while Wallin – up until now – had yet to be center stage. Wallin seems to be taking it well, though, rather than allowing the moment to swallow him whole. “It’s been good,” he says of the lead up. “I’ve got a good team around me that keeps me from not being overwhelmed with media requests but helps to balance it.” To Wallin, all the press and attention is simply part and parcel of engaging in a big fight. “Media work is of course part of the game and very important,” he adds reasonably. “I’m very happy with all the interest around the fight and everything that comes with it.”
The interest in Wallin himself will be intense should be pull off the upset. Everyone will want to know who the polite, undefeated giant slayer is. Not that the attention won’t be well earned. Upsets bring about their own rewards. As does defeating the man many argue is the lineal heavyweight champion of the world (the man who beat the man who beat the man). If he wins on Saturday, Wallin will find himself spoken of alongside the likes of Wilder, Ruiz, and Joshua. Not that that a win would surprise Wallin. As he said of Fury in our previous interview: “He has not much to win and everything to lose in this fight and that’s great for me. He probably feels a ton of pressure and knows that he needs to look good in this fight.”
In other words, it’s not just the challenger who has to feel the heat on this occasion.
Is Otto Wallin An Easy Win For Tyson Fury?
By: Hans Themistode
Lineal champion Tyson Fury (28-0-1, 20 KOs) caught a lot of flak for his June 15th contest against Tom Schwarz. After coming off a highly disputed draw against WBC belt holder Deontay Wilder, Fury was expected to take on a stiff challenge.
Schwarz proved that he was not in the same league as Fury or any of the top Heavyweights. It was a one sided beating when they met up at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Fury landed every and anything he wanted which led to a second round knockout.
Now that the rematch between Wilder and Fury is officially taking place in the first quarter of 2020, the boxing world is thrilled. First things first however, they both must get thorough their respective matchups. Wilder has a November date with Luis Ortiz in what will be a rematch. It’s a dangerous fight for Wilder. One that he could very well lose.
Fury doesn’t seem to be taking the same level of risk that Wilder is. He’s set to take on Otto Wallin on September 14th at the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas. Fury is very much expected to run through Wallin, much like he did against Schwarz. In fact, both Wallin and Schwarz share eerie similarities to one another.
Wallin is currently undefeated and in his mid twenties in terms of his age. So was Schwarz. They both aren’t known to the public but at least according to their records have similar punching power. They are also the exact same height, standing at six feet five and a half.
We all just witnessed what Fury can do to an unknown fighter with seemingly the same skill set. Taking a look at the resume of Wallin doesn’t exactly provide confidence as this will be a massive step up in class. It isn’t just the difference in skills but there is also a big difference in terms of activity. Wallin hasn’t truly fought in over a year.
His contest against Nick Kisner earlier this year ended in the second round thanks to a nasty head butt which put an end to that contest earlier than expected. Wallin was then supposed to jump in the ring against BJ Flores but that fight was scratched at the very last minute as well. The last time Wallin fought a full contest was on April 21st, 2018 when he defeated Adrian Granat.
This seems like a calculated move by Fury. Take on a fighter who on paper, looks to be a formidable challenger, but in reality they are inexperienced and a bit rusty. His future opponent Deontay Wilder is taking risk after risk while Fury seems to be playing it safe, but is he really? Wallin is an unknown to the public and nothing about his skill set would present a belief to anyone that he can win this fight.
It looks as though Wallin is just being used as a soft touch. Remember, this is the sport go boxing so anything can happen but it sure doesn’t seem like Wallin has a shot during this contest.
Otto Wallin Looks To Shock Tyson Fury – And The Fight World
By: Sean Crose
“Fury is not your normal type of fighter or heavyweight,” says undefeated 20-0 heavyweight Otto Wallin. “He’s a big guy and knows how to use that to his advantage and he does it well.” Wallin is referring to the 28-0-1 Tyson Fury, who is considered to the be lineal heavyweight champion of the world, and who will be fighting Wallin on September 14th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s the chance of a lifetime for Wallin, a 28 year old native of Sundsvall, Sweden, one the fighter clearly intends to make the most of.
“My training base is in New York,” he says, “where I live and we’ll be doing the training over here until one week before the fight.” Some fighters like to travel in order to train for major matches. The 6’5 plus Wallin is happy where he is. “We’ve got a nice private gym,” he says, “and we have all we need.” This will be Wallin’s second fight in the United States. His first was an ill-fated match against Nick Kisner last April in Atlantic City, a bout that was declared a no contest due to an accidental head butt. Wallin will be preparing for more than just potential head butts in the leadup to Fury, however.
For Fury is a unique case. Not only is he extremely large and slick, the Englishman is also a master of head games. Watch Fury’s interactions with then longtime heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko back in 2015 before he bested the Ukrainian legend in a huge upset. Fury’s interactions with Klitschko were in a master class of bullying and mind games. It’s a tactic Wallin feels well prepared for. “He’s probably looking to get inside of my head like he usually does,” says Wallin, “I’ll just laugh it off and be myself at all times. I’ve got a good team around me that will keep me on the right track.”
Should he win the lineal title off Fury, Wallin will be seen as the first heavyweight champion from Sweden since Ingemar Johansson, who won the crown from Floyd Patterson in the late 1950s. I asked Wallin (we conducted the interview via email) if he felt any pressure being a Swedish fighter with an opportunity to do what what the famous Johansson did. “I don’t feel any pressure at all,” he replied. “What Ingemar Johansson did is just a huge inspiration and he already showed that it’s possible and that it can be done!”
Coming hot on the heels of Andy Ruiz’ stunning victory over Anthony Joshua last June, Wallin will face Fury with the whiff of upsets in the air. There is also a suspicion that Fury is already overlooking Wallin while planning to have a rematch of his terrific bout last December against Deontay Wilder. Wallin, however, isn’t one too make too much of such conjecture. “I have no idea what’s in Fury’s head,” he says, “but surely he has not much to win and everything to lose in this fight and that’s great for me. He probably feels a ton of pressure and knows that he needs to look good in this fight.”
Tyson Fury Set To Face Otto Wallin On September 14th
By: Sean Crose
“I am pleased to be back in Las Vegas,” says Tyson Fury, the man many consider to be the lineal heavyweight champion of the world (the man who beat the man who beat the man who…).I loved my time there in my last fight and I am going to put on a show at the T-Mobile Arena.” Fury was referring a match with Otto Wallin, which has been scheduled to go down at Vegas’ T-Mobile arena on September 14th. The bout will be aired live on ESPN+ and will be presented by Bob Arum’s Top Rank, Fury’s American promotional company.
“Otto Wallin is a world-ranked fighter and is tall,” Fury says, “something we want with the Deontay Wilder rematch around the corner. He is also a southpaw, which will bring its own obstacles, but I will be fully focused to get this job done because the rematch needs to happen.” The rematch, of course, is a second fight with the aforementioned Wilder, who Fury fought to a draw last December in one of the more memoable heavyweight title clashes in recent memory. Fury looked to be cruising towards a win (despite being dropped once) when Wilder sent the Englishman to the mat with an absolutely thunderous shot in the final round. Fury remarkably got up, then performed well until the final bell.
“Tyson Fury electrified Las Vegas last time he fought, and he is set to do it again against a tough kid in Otto Wallin,” said Top Rank chairman Arum. “Tyson knows what’s at stake,” he added, in reference to the upcoming Wallin fight, “and I expect him to have another masterful performance. He is the best heavyweight in the world and is only beginning to show everyone what he’s capable of.”
The 20-0 Wallin, of course, is thrilled that the opportunity of a lifetime has presented itself. “This is the type of fight I’ve been waiting for since I was a kid and my father started showing me some boxing moves in our kitchen,” the 28 year old Swede claimed. “I’ve made a lot of sacrifices to get to this point and I’m very happy it’s starting to pay off. I want to thank my team and my supporters for making this happen.” Wallin, of course, is eager to prove himself.
“I know I’m an underdog in this fight,” he says, “but I’m ready for this opportunity and I’m going to grab it with both hands. Anybody can get beat and especially in the heavyweight division. I like the fact that I have everything to gain and Tyson has everything to lose.”
The 28-0 Fury’s last fight was a two round blowout of Tom Schwarz back in June at the MGM Grand in Vegas. It was a violent, but expectedly one sided victory for the fighter known as “The Gypsy King.” Wallin’s last battle was declared a No Contest due to the fact that he and opponent Nick Kisner clashed heads accidentally and the bout had to be stopped. The match, which went down at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, was Wallin’s US debut.
Otto Wallin Weighs In On His Showdown With BJ Flores
By: Hans Themistode
In years past, the Heavyweight division revolved around one name, Klitschko. Whether is was Wladimir or his brother Vitale, the Klitschko’s dominated Heavyweight boxing. That era is now behind us. There are numerous fighters in the division who have something to prove.
New Heavyweight contender Otto Wallin has been viewed as one of the up and coming big guys. Standing six feet five inches and sporting an undefeated record of 20 wins with no defeats and 13 big wins coming via knockout, you can see why he is thought of so highly.
This Friday night on July 12th, Wallin will be taking on the biggest test of his career when he takes on BJ Flores (34-4-1, 21 KOs). The aforementioned Flores was last seen in the ring in August of 2018, when he went up against the undefeated Trevor Bryan. Flores was subsequently knocked out in the fourth round of that contest. Wallin is determined to make his own statement come Friday night.
“The main thing is to get the win, but I want to break him down and stop him,” said Wallin. “This fight is on Showtime so I want to show that I deserve to keep fighting on this network.”
For Wallin, he is hoping that his fight against Flores last a bit longer than his previous contest against Nick Kisner. That bout was ruled a no contest after a clash of heads in the opening round led to cut and vision problems for Kisner. Before that contest, Walling struggled with activity as he was roughly out for a year prior to that contest. His stretches of inactivity have not been through fault of his own. Concerns of ring rust have not entered the mind of Wallin, but he is hoping to become much more active this year.
“I’ve been inactive in the past because my contract with my promotor had expired. I had other bouts like fighting for the European title but it kept getting pushed back. When it was time to fight my trainer got attacked in New York and broke his jaw, so we had to cancel the fight. Thankfully all of that is behind us now and I just want to be active this year. As far as ring rust goes, in my last contest I would have liked to have gotten a few more rounds in of course but I’m not concerned about ring rust. I still got the experience from walking down that isle and getting in that ring. I just want to look at it in a positive light.”
His opponent BJ Flores, will have a major edge in terms of experience and level of opposition. Those factors don’t intimidate Wallin in the slightest. Instead, he is looking forward to the test so that he can prove that he what it takes to compete with anyone.
“He’s the most experienced fighter I’ve ever fought. He’s had several championship fights so he is definitely the best fighter that I’ve ever faced also but this is what I need. If I can put on a great performance then that will show that I belong with some of the best guys in the division.”
Wallin isn’t held in the same regard as fighters such as Adam Kownacki, Jarrell Miller and Dillian Whyte. However, with a win this Friday night that could all change. With the Heavyweight division having so much parity, Wallin is thrilled to be apart of this era of Heavyweight boxing. He is also patiently waiting on his own big fight to prove his worth.
“I think the division is great,” recalled Wallin. “It’s really booming right now, there are a lot of big fights to be made. I just need to keep working and keep improving so that when my time comes I’ll be ready for these guys.”
Wallin’s first step in his quest for Heavyweight glory starts this Friday night at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Washington. If he can make a statement, it won’t be long until he gets those big fights he is craving.
Otto Wallin: “Sweden Needs A Boxing Superstar That Stands Out”
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.”
Otto Wallin Defeats Granat – Wins Title
By: Ste Rowen
Otto Wallin scored a dominant unanimous decision victory, winning the battle of the Vikings and claiming the EBU European Union Heavyweight title, along with the pride of Sweden. Now 17-0, Wallin claimed his best win by far in his home city and the seeming ease with which he did it will send a warning shot to the rest of well stacked European scene.
Both fighters made a push to hold the middle ground from the first bell, as the two Swedes tried to find the range and launch an effective attack. No such attack came in the first 6 minutes of boxing, other than a right-hand landing towards the end of the 2nd round from the unbeaten southpaw, Wallin that seemed to perk up Adrian ‘The Pike’ Granat.
Round 3 was where the fight really got going as both fighters began to throw much more freely, Wallin’s quick counters sabotaging Granat’s attempts to back his opponent up. Through 4,5 and 6, both fighters were still trying to own the centre of the ring. Granat’s sloppy punching, constantly throwing out of range and consistently falling victim to Wallin’s quick-handed one-twos were making it a much tougher night for the former IBF International belt holder.
Past the halfway mark, and it was noticeable now the drop off of pace from Granat, and Wallin’s ambition to back ‘The Pike’ up, attempting to dominate. With 40 seconds left in the 8th, Adrian seemed to flick a mental switch, and began to throw heavy shots in quick succession, but again his punching was inaccurate and Wallin moved well enough to avoid damage.
As the 10th round rolled around Wallin’s body shots were clearly having the desired effect. Granat looked a lot less interested in throwing punches, knowing his opponent’s speed was picking him off, head and body. The final few rounds didn’t give off the air of a domestic grudge match, Adrian landed the occasional big hook, but it wasn’t enough to sufficiently deter his countryman, and Wallin was clearly the superior technical boxer.
It wasn’t the best fight of a packed weekend across Europe and the US, nor was it the worst, but even before the final bell sounded, Otto raised his hand in celebration, anticipating a clear victory.
The scorecards came back as, 117-111, 117-112, 118-110 all for the Sundsvall favourite, and now 20-0 (13KOs), Otto Wallin. Big fights should now lie ahead for Wallin. The unbeaten, Agit Kabayel, holder of the full EBU European belt, or perhaps the first man to topple tonight’s opponent, Alexander Dimitrenko, currently on a 3-fight win streak which includes taking the 0’s of Granat, and Montenegrin, Miljan Rovcanin.
Whoever Otto sets his sights on next will be in for a very long night, as the Swede continues to rise up the heavyweight rankings in dominating fashion.
Otto Wallin vs Adrian Granat Preview
By: Ste Rowen
This coming Saturday, in the Stone City, two Swedish heavyweight rivals are set to collide. At Sundsvall’s Gaerdehov Ice Hockey Arena, unbeaten southpaw, Otto Wallin, 19-0 (13KOs) takes on Adrian ‘The Pike’ Granat, 15-1 (14KOs) for the vacant EBU European ‘Union’ heavyweight strap.
A relative late comer to the sport, Wallin only took up boxing at aged 16, 11 years later he finds himself as his country’s number one rated heavyweight, and lucky for him, he has a legitimate domestic rival that, if victorious this weekend, could fan the flames for a world title shot.
‘It’s a big shot.’ Wallin told ‘Laugh At First Site’, ‘I just wanna beat this guy ‘cos I wanna show who’s the best heavyweight in Sweden. The title is nice but I just wanna win the fight and beat this guy.’
‘He’s always been talking about me, saying I’m an easy fight but lately he’s been a little bit more on the other side saying it’s gonna be a tough fight. He’s realising that he’s in for a treat.’
‘We were around each other as amateurs but we never fought. To be honest I didn’t like him back then either. Just something about him that I couldn’t really handle, so it’ll be nice to get in the ring.’
Currently training out of New York, last time fans saw the unbeaten Swede was in Riga, on the Briedis vs Usyk undercard when Wallin overwhelmed 6-4 Bosnian, Srdan Govedarica. It was a stay busy fight that helped to build up the appetite for this all-Swedish clash, as Otto took till just the 3rd round of the scheduled 8, to stop the rank outsider. Before then, the Sundsvall native had been steadily building on his record with victories such as his dominant 2016 10-round decision win over the well-travelled, Raphael Zumbano Love and a 3rd round knockout of another Brazilian, in the form of Irineu Beato Costa Junior, whose previous opponents include the likes of Dillian Whyte, Christian Hammer and, up until recently the WBO world champion, Joseph Parker.
But it’s Saturday’s bout that will be the benchmark that decides whether Wallin has a future at the top level of the heavyweight scene.
The road to this weekend’s Swedish showdown hasn’t been quite so smooth for Granat.
Much like his upcoming opponent, ‘The Pike’ had been accumulating victories over reputable, but limited foes, including early knockout wins over Michael Sprott, Danny Williams and Evgeny Orlov, but just over 12 months ago, Adrian suffered a massive set back after suffering a 1st round KO to Alexander Dimitrenko.
On the front foot early, Granat had his hands low when the Russian fired a right hook that sent the Swede to the canvas for the first time in his pro career. ‘The Pike’ looked pretty vacant as he rose, and subsequently took 16 unanswered punches before hitting the canvas for a 2nd time, and this time for good.
It’s arguably why he’s had to look towards a domestic bout, rather than forward against the likes of Agit Kabayal and Dillian Whyte, which he might’ve done if he’d scored a victory over Dimitrenko.
The Malmo native returned to winning ways in December with a 4th round stoppage over 9-5 Georgian, Irakli Gvenetadze. Granat has also recently linked up with American trainer, Jonathan Banks and he’s already feeling the improvements,
‘To train with Jonathan Banks at the Kronk Gym and to meet all those guys there was a pretty cool experience. I first met Jonathan in Hamburg when I was sparring with Dillian Whyte. After that he invited me to come and spar Klitschko. We got on pretty well so when I was looking for a new coach, I gave him a call and he was interested.’
‘I’m not going to tell you exactly what we’ve been working on but I will say the past 10 weeks training with Jonathan could not have gone any better.’
‘I’m focusing on myself, not on Otto… It’s hard to say what happens when we come face-to-face but all I know is, I feel really good and I’ll be ready for whatever he brings.’
Saturday’s fight certainly won’t push the winner to the front of an already heavily crowded queue for the world title accolades, but it should certainly setup some pretty tasty contender matchups in the near future.