Tyson Fury picking relatively unknown Otto Wallin as his next opponent Sept. 14 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas was a definite head-scratcher when it was announced earlier this month.
But Fury’s trainer says the choice came down to a last resort for who could actually get in the ring with the lineal heavyweight champion, with all the red tape accompanied by boxing politics preventing a bigger-name opponent.
“You’ve got Al Haymon [at] PBC, you’ve got Top Rank, DAZN with [Anthony] Joshua and that. They all want to keep their heavyweights for who they’ve got,” Fury’s traner Ben Davison told The Express. “I know that [Kubrat] Pulev is in a situation for the IBF mandatory, he’s not going to take that fight (against Fury), didn’t want to take that fight.
“An offer got put out to Alexander Povetkin — he took the Hughie [Fury] fight,” Davison continued. “It’s difficult, you know. Tyson said that he wanted [Jarrell] ‘Big Baby’ Miller — he wasn’t going to get his license in time (after testing positive for drugs). He then said Trevor Bryan, who signed to fight Manuel Charr. It’s very difficult.”
Davison added: “Adam Kownacki, he’s with PBC. Obviously Joshua and [Andy] Ruiz [Jr.] are having their rematch. It was difficult. Luis Ortiz and Deontay Wilder (are having a rematch). It’s no secret that Tyson and Deontay are looking to fight in the early part of next year. So it wasn’t the be all and end all because the big fights are around the corner.”
That latter part certainly plays a significant factor, considering Fury needs a win over Wallin to secure the proposed 2020 rematch against Wilder, who he fought to a thrilling draw last December.
The 28-year-old Swedish Wallin stands 6-5 and has amassed all of his 20-0 record in Europe, with the exception of his last bout — an April tilt against Nick Kisner that ended in a no-contest due to an accidental headbutt at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
Wallin marks the second straight virtually unknown opponent who Fury (28-0-1, 20 KOs) is facing; the "Gypsy King" destroyed German boxer Tom Schwarz by second-round TKO in June.