Well, everything did not go smoothly for Tyson Fury as most predicted (including this author) Otto Wallin in Las Vegas on Saturday.
The ‘Gypsy King’ won by wide scores of 116-112, 117-111 and 118-110 although that comfortable margin of victory did not accurately reflect the drama of the actual fight.
Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) suffered a nasty cut above his right eye from an overhand left from Wallin (20-1, 13 KOs) in the third round followed by another one two stanzas later courtesy of an accidental head clash. The injuries were particularly worrisome for his team as the ringside doctor closely monitored the situation in case the fight needed to be stopped.
The urgency of the matter forced Fury to be more aggressive than usual, especially over the second half of the fight where his power punches proved decisive in earning the unanimous decision. He repeatedly tagged Wallin with hard body shots and looping hooks to the head.
The 6-foot-6 Swede gave a very good account of himself in his very first fight at the elite level despite losing for the first time in his professional career and being out-landed 179 to 121 according to CompuBox.
Trainer Joey Gamache ordered Wallin to target Fury’s cut which he obliged but would anger the lineal champion in the sixth round when using the thumb of the glove to rake the open wound with the hope of forcing a stoppage.
“I was happy that he was cut but I wish I could have kept up a little more on it. But [my performance] tells me that nobody can question my heart and question that I am a good fighter,” said Wallin.
Fury really began to take back control of the fight in the seventh round when he backed up and visibly hurt Wallin with a pair of huge right hands. He would continue to punish Wallin but could not put together the finishing combination to put his man away.
However, Wallin was not completely out of the fight and remained dangerous throughout. He stormed back in the eleventh round to hurt Fury twice with a pair of clean left hands which forced him to clinch.
Otto rallied again in the twelfth and final round managing to re-open the cuts above Fury’s right eye, but the Brit gamely used his defensive prowess to avoid any significant damage to close out the bout.
The win of course sets Fury up for his long-awaited February 22 rematch with Deontay Wilder, which has already been signed by both fighters. Wilder will have to get past Luis Ortiz in their own rematch in November.
The significance of the victory was not lost on Tyson who called out the WBO heavyweight champion.
Deontay Wilder, I want you next bum!” Fury said. “All preparation is good. This is me fourth fight back [from a three-year layoff due to mental health and substance abuse issues] and got me in good preparation for the big boy, the ole ‘Bronze Bomber,’ the big dosser.”
Fury-Wallin Undercard Results
WBO junior featherweight world champion Emanuel Navarrete (29-1, 25 KOs) put on yet another impressive show in the co-feature by stopping Juan Miguel Elorde (28-2, 15 KOs) in the fourth round. It was Navarrete’s second fight in just a matter of weeks who remains one of the more active champions around. Elorde proved to be out-of-his depth in this one although he tried to make the fight competitive.
Jose Zepeda (31-2, 25 KOs) proved to be too slick and elusive for former two-weight world champion Jose Pedraza (26-3, 13 KOs). Zepeda, who lost to Terry Flanagan in a previous world championship chance, is now closing in on a super-lightweight shot. Pedraza had a very slow start and did not appear to rally until around the eighth round but by then, it was too late. Zepeda swept the final two rounds to win 97-93 on all three of the judges’ scorecards.