Tyson Fury Set to Defend Lineal Heavyweight Title Against Otto Wallin
Lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury will return to the ring on Saturday against undefeated contender Otto Wallin in Las Vegas.
Updated: Sept. 12, 2019 • 11:07 AM ET
Tyson Fury is looking to retain his lineal heavyweight title.
Tyson Fury will return to the ring this Saturday to defend his lineal heavyweight title against undefeated challenger Otto Wallin in Las Vegas.
Fury (28-0-1) is coming off a second-round TKO of Tom Schwarz in June and hopes to continue his quest to unify the heavyweight division. The 31-year-old hasn’t been shy about offering his thoughts on looking past Wallin towards a rematch with WBC champion Deontay Wilder.
“I just want to smash Wilder in the rematch,” Fury recently said via The Daily Mirror. “I just want to beat him and get what I deserve — the victory. Wilder doesn’t want to fight me.
“He couldn’t beat me when I’d had three years out the ring, and he couldn’t beat me when he knocked me down twice, so he hasn’t got a chance of beating me now.”
While Wilder dropped Fury twice when they fought last December, they battled to a 12-round draw and the boxing world has clamored for a rematch ever since. The rematch, however, would have much more appeal if they both stay undefeated before it takes place. Wilder’s WBC title defense against Luis Ortiz in a rematch is expected to be announced this month, so fans will have to continue to wait for the rematch with Fury.
Fury, however, cannot take Wallin lightly, as the Swedish fighter is fully prepared for what the Brit brings to the table.
“I can’t let him get to my head,” Wallin recently said via the Associated Press about the United Kingdom born Fury. “When he starts getting comfortable, talking to me, knocking me out of my game plan...I think I am well-prepared for that. I know what he is about. I have been following him for years.”
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Fury also knows plenty about Wallin, despite what little fans may know about him.
“He boxes well, he's a slick southpaw,” Fury recently said on ESPN+. “He's been training in New York for two years with Joey Gamache, a former [two-division] world champion [at junior lightweight and lightweight]. He's a big guy, he's young, he's ambitious.
“Another thing, though, Otto Wallin is not my first choice of opponent. Kubrat Pulev turned this fight down. Alexander Povetkin turned this fight down. Charles Martin turned this fight down. Trevor Bryan turned this fight down. Ortiz is fighting Wilder, Ruiz is fighting Joshua. Dillian Whyte's been popped for a drug test, Miller's been popped for a drug test. Who else is there?”
Wallin (20-0, 13 KOs) is coming off a no contest decision against Nick Kisner in April after an accidental head-butt cut Kisner, who couldn’t continue. Saturday’s fight will be just the 28-year-old’s second fight outside of Europe and despite criticism from elite heavyweights such as former champion Anthony Joshua, Wallin believes he belongs in the ring with the best in the world.
"I haven't been at the elite level in fights, but I have sparred big names and know I am at their level — Anthony Joshua, Kubrat Pulev, Adam Kownacki, Jarrell Miller, all different guys, and I know I am on this level,” Wallin recently told BBC Sport. "I am not worried about that, it's just that people haven't seen. Anthony knows I am a good fighter.
“Yes, it helps a little with motivation. I have no pressure at all. I can only go in there and do my best."
Wallin, who fought Joshua twice as an amateur and lost both bouts on points, comes from a fighting family. Both his father, Carl, who passed away in May, and one of his brothers, were boxers. He turned pro at 22 years old and started training with former two-weight world champion Joey Gamache, who is the only boxer from Maine to capture a world title, less than a year into his career. Gamache and Wallin ignored the criticism that erupted when the fight with Fury was announced and have used it as training motivation.
“It’s finally time,” Wallin said, “to show that I belong here.”
Saturday’s co-main event will also be for a title, as Emanuel Navarrete will defend the WBO super bantamweight title against Juan Miguel Elorde.
In a quick turnaround after knocking out Francisco De Vaca in August, Navarrete (28-1, 24 KOs) will defend the belt for the third time on Saturday. He’s excited to defend the title in “Sin City.”
“I always wanted to fight in Las Vegas, as a world champion, on a national weekend,” Navarrete recently said via the WBO. “Thank God I will be given this opportunity on Saturday.”
Navarrete, who hasn’t been defeated since losing a decision to Daniel Argueta in his sixth professional fight in 2012, continued, “I am facing a very strong opponent, from a boxing family like Elorde, and he has a lot of quality, but we have done a great preparation and we are going to bring the belt back home.”
Elorde (28-1, 15 KOs) is coming off a unanimous decision win against Shohei Kawashima in March, and his only loss also came by unanimous decision to Jerry Guevara in 2011. The 32-year-old Elorde is the grandson of Hall of Fame boxer Gabriel Elorde and will finally get his shot at a major world title.
“I’m the underdog, and my only motivation is the desire to be like my grandfather,” Elorde recently told The Manila Times in a phone interview. “There is no world champion yet in our stable, so I must win this fight.”
• How to watch/start time: The main card can be seen this Saturday on ESPN+ at 11 p.m. ET.