By Barry Holbrook: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum says Otto Wallin (20-0, 13 KOs) will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Swedish heavyweight Ingemar Johansson in coming to the U.S to try and pull off a big upset on Saturday night. Wallin, 28, is fighting lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury (28-0-1, 20 KOs) for his nonexistent belt on ESPN+. Although Fury is a big favorite, Arum insists that Wallin can’t be counted out due his punching.
Ingemar Johansson destroyed Floyd Patterson
In 1959, Johansson came over to the U.S and defeated World heavyweight champion Patterson by a 3rd round knockout in the first of three fights between them. Johansson beat Patterson with his “Thunder & lightning” punching power. He mostly hurt Patterson with right hands in that fight.
“A look at what it really feels like to step into that ring and put your life on the line.”
“HEAVY: Fury vs. Schwarz” | 10 p.m. ET pic.twitter.com/ZOsN9RN1eT
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) September 11, 2019
Arum says fans see Fury doing things Muhammad Ali did
“People are seeing things that they haven’t seen since Muhammad Ali,” said Arum in talking about Tyson Fury. “He’s a fighter that can connect with the people, and he’s a real showman. So he’s in tough. Wallin is a big guy, a big puncher. Fury wanted a big guy. He didn’t want a small fighter, because he’s looking forward to [Deontay] Wilder, but he’s got to concentrate on Saturday night. I remember when an unknown Swedish guy [Ingemar Johansson] came over to the United States.
People laughed at him. He was fighting for the heavyweight championship of the world against Floyd Patterson, and nobody gave him a chance. And he not only knocked out Floyd Patterson, he knocked him down seven times en route to the victory. Otto Wallin, you’ve got to watch out for these tough Swedes, who can really punch, and Otto Wallin thinks he’s going to be the next Ingemar Johansson,” said Arum.
There’s a difference between the punching power of Wallin and the late Ingemar Johansson. Wallin doesn’t pack nearly the same punching power as Johansson did. In looking at old video of Johansson, he packed a big punch for a short 6’0″ heavyweight. Wallin, 6’6″, is a lot taller than Johansson, but he punches more like Fury’s nephew Hughie Fury than he does Johansson.
Fury using Wallin as preparation for Deontay Wilder rematch
Wallin is supposed to be Fury’s preparation to get him ready for his February 22 rematch against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder. At least that’s the official explanation for why Top Rank picked Wallin out of the hat to match him against Fury. Most boxing fans see it as more of a case of Arum and Top Rank wanting to match him against a soft touch to impress the casual boxing fans in the U.S. In other words, Wallin has been selected to make Fury look good.