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Otto Wallin Gunning Hard For Anthony Joshua Fight in NYC

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FRIDAY UPDATE: Otto Wallin checked in with NYF and answered a point blank question: Why do you want to fight Anthony Joshua?

“I want to fight him because it’s a great opportunity and we know each other well,” Wallin said. “I know he’s a very good fighter but so am I! I think it would make a good fight and I want to become the second Swede ever to fight for the world heavyweight championship.”

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There is a Swedish heavyweight, who is respectful of history, and is citing two historical tidbits to bolster his case, as he throws his hat into the ring, who asks to be the man who steps in against Anthony Joshua on June 1 at Madison Square Garden.

First off, some more ancient history; it was nearly 60 years ago when another Swede flipped the script and downed a heavyweight ace. Ingemar Johansson downed Floyd Patterson on June 26, 1959, at Yankee Stadium, and Otto Wallin, who stands 6-5, 230 pounds, pictures in his mind’s eye that he can follow those footsteps.

And a second bit of history…Before Anthony Joshua fought Charles Martin, Wallin…

…went to the UK to serve as a sparring partner, to give the muscled hitter a lefty look. He got the sense, co-manager Zach Levin, a Manhattan fight game fixture, told me, that some on team AJ thought Otto would get run out of the ring, right quick.

Don’t unpack yer bag, kid, was the feeling he got.

But, in fact, Wallin (hear more about him on the Everlast podcast) hung in with AJ, and then some, Levin continues. “He made him think. He relayed to me, he heard that AJ told his dad, that guy gave me trouble. And that Johansson win, it would be almost sixty years to the day.

Wallin wants to pull a Johansson on June 1.

Wallin wants to pull a Johansson on June 1.

It’s a thrill to him, and he talks about that a lot. I think the stars are aligned!”

Wallin, trained by Joey Gamache, has been in NYC, getting seasoning, for a couple years. He gloved up on April 13, but got just three minutes of work in AC, as foe Nick Kisner was cut from an accidental butt, and said his vision was impaired.

“Otto has nothing but respect for AJ,” Levin continued, “and he thinks he’s gotten better since the Martin fight. But he knows he’s gotten better too. He thinks AJ is class, in and out of the ring. But that fight would be a war, with brains, skill and brawn. He’s built from special stuff, and we think AJ knows it.”

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Team Wallin on Friday afternoon sent out a release, laying out their reasoning why Wallin, who is promoted by Dmitriy Salita, should fight AJ.

Salita also handles Jarrell Miller, who was yanked from his Garden spot, a challenge versus the Brit.

Otto Wallin (20-0, 13 KOs), WBA and IBF #5 contender, says he is ready to challenge Anthony Joshua for the heavyweight title on June 1st in Madison Square Garden.  The undefeated Swedish heavyweight is confident he will follow in the footsteps of countryman Ingemar Johansson, who exactly 60 years ago, in June of 1959, took New York by storm when he knocked out Floyd Patterson to take the heavyweight title back to Sweden.  

Wallin, 28, is in peak condition, having just fought last Saturday night on Showtime.  That fight ended in a No Decision after the 1st round due to a cut above his opponent’s eye.  Otto is ready to return to the ring immediately.  “I feel great and am ready to go,” said Wallin. “I would love for it to be against Anthony Joshua.”

“Ottomatic” has a history with Joshua.  They fought twice in the amateurs and then sparred 200 rounds as Joshua prepared for his title-winning fight against Charles Martin.  “Some of Joshua’s people told me not to unpack my bags because I wouldn’t be staying long,” explained Wallin. He answered their doubts with his fists and spent seven weeks in camp as Joshua’s chief sparring partner. 

“AJ came to learn that I’m nobody’s sparring partner,” Wallin said. “I think he felt that we would one day meet again – not in a spar but a fight.  I gave him problems. We were a real test for each other.  But Anthony has character and I believe he welcomes a challenge.  AJ, tell Eddie Hearn that Ottomatic is the guy you want facing you on June 1, not Michael Hunter.”

No final decision has been made regarding Joshua’s next opponent but Wallin stands ready to play the spoiler.

“I grew up knowing the legend of Johannson,” Wallin noted. “He came to Yankee Stadium the underdog and made history, which all these years later has affected my life. Given the chance, I will do whatever it takes to become the next Swedish immortal.”

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Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

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