Tyson Fury got a tougher night than just about anyone expected from a determined, strong, and at times dirty Otto Wallin, but came out of it with his undefeated record intact, winning a 12-round decision in Las Vegas.
Fury (29-0-1, 20 KO) trounced the little-known Tom Schwarz back in June, and being totally honest, that sort of result was about what was expected tonight with Wallin, who came in undefeated, but without anything approaching a serious, world-level test on his professional record.
Wallin (20-1, 13 KO), however, proved quickly that he wasn’t Tom Schwarz, and that he had a real game plan designed to shock the world. I had him up pretty big in the first half of the fight, personally, but with a couple of those rounds that probably could have gone to Fury, all things being fair.
The big problem for Fury, though, came in the third round, when he was cut on a punch from Wallin, and it was a pretty nasty one, bleeding progressively profusely on the right eyelid. Fury had checks with the ring physician, and always said he could see fine, which he admitted after the fight was a fib.
Wallin showed a desire to win at almost all costs, too — there was a very blatant foul from him at one point, where he raked the inside of his glove against the cut as he and Fury tussled on the ropes. Tony Weeks really could have taken a point from him there, but did not. He scraped at the cut at least a time or two more, as well, and wasn’t shy about getting a little dirty.
But Fury, without question, came on strong over the second half of the fight, as Wallin began to run out of ideas and fatigue a bit in what was by far the biggest fight on the biggest stage of his career. Wallin probably deserved to take the 12th round, where he went for it big time and did get Fury with some good shots, but ultimately Fury won the rounds for the judges.
The official scores were 116-112, 117-111, and 118-110 for Fury. BLH had the fight 114-114 (myself, and I actually don’t have a problem with an 8-4 for Fury) and 116-112 (Wil Esco).
“I did everything I could. I tried my best. Tyson is a great champion,” Wallin said after the fight. “I tried to hit (the cut) even more (than I did). I know it was a punch that did it, and I was happy that he was cut, but I wish that I could have capitalized even more on it.”
Asked what he felt about his performance against the man many consider the top heavyweight in the sport today, Wallin said, “It tells me that nobody can question my heart and question that I’m a good fighter.”
“For the majority of the fight, I couldn’t see out of my left eye,” Fury admitted. “It was a good performance. Otto Wallin is a tough Swede. Blood, guts, heart, all shown tonight.”
Fury also offered condolences to Wallin on the loss of the Swedish fighter’s father earlier this year, saying that Wallin’s father would undoubtedly be proud of his son’s showing in this fight.
Then Fury got down to business.
“Deontay Wilder, I want you next, bum!” he bellowed into the microphone.
“He’s next, Feb. 22. I’ll let the cut heal, enjoy myself, and get some time with the family.”
By all accounts, Wilder-Fury II is signed for Feb. 22, 2020. Will we get there? Well, Wilder still has to take care of business against Luis Ortiz sometime this fall, and then we’ll see.
Did ESPN cross a line during the fight?
People are going to talk about this, so we might as well, too.
At one point in the fight, ESPN commentator Joe Tessitore found out that Tyson Fury’s corner seemed to believe the cut had come from a clash of heads. The thing about that is, a cut caused by a clash of heads doesn’t award a TKO win to Otto Wallin if the doctor stops the fight due to the cut. One caused by a punch, as this one was, does give Wallin a TKO win in that scenario.
Tessitore had interviewer Bernardo Osuna go to Fury’s corner to find out if trainer Ben Davison knew the cut had been ruled to be caused by a punch. Davison indicated that he’d been told it was a clash of heads. Osuna then told him that it had been ruled to be from a punch, according to the Nevada commission in contact with the ESPN broadcast team.
There is some question about that conduct, understandably. Fury, of course, is signed to a major money deal with ESPN. Otto Wallin is not. Fury is worth a lot of money to the ESPN boxing brand — he’s the face, or at least one of the faces of the ESPN boxing brand, perhaps along with Terence Crawford and Vasiliy Lomachenko.
In short, the ESPN commentary team influenced the corner during a fight. Maybe you see that as no big deal — after all, if my dumb ass sitting at home can get the information, why shouldn’t Ben Davison have that same access? And you might even question why Davison had not been told clearly by referee Tony Weeks that the cut had been ruled to be from a punch.
The “interference,” as it were, does seem odd to me, but I don’t know if it deserves to be blown up into a massive witch hunt, which it could be. It’s information during a live broadcast. The broadcasters do interact with the corners in this and basically every fight.
Would they have done the same if it were Wallin’s corner that didn’t have the information? I can’t say for sure either way, being honest. I could guess they might not have, because Wallin is not an ESPN boxing poster boy, but I could just as easily guess that they might, because it made for compelling TV to visit a corner like that with information. Is it right for them to do so either way? I don’t know. I think there’s a debate there, probably.