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Tyson Fury needed a “big guy” to prepare for Deontay Wilder says Bob Arum

Tyson Fury

By Kenneth Friedman: Tyson Fury has taken a lot of heat by fans for his September 14 fight against Otto Wallin on ESPN+. Fury’s promoter Bob Arum says they picked out the 6’6″ Wallin (20-0, 13 KOs) for him to prepare Tyson the rematch with the 6’7″ WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) on February 22.

Fury (28-0-1, 20 KOs) will be defending his lineal heavyweight title against Wallin.

The Wilder vs. Fury rematch is signed, according to Arum. He says Wallin was the best available fighter for Fury to fight that matched their requirements of needing someone tall like Wilder.

Otto Wallin an unknown heavyweight with no experience

Wallin has similar size as world champion Wilder, but he lacks the power and the experience. The boxing public has never heard of Wallin, and they view the fight as another case of Top Rank feeding Fury a soft job like his last opponent Tom Schwarz. Like Schwarz, Wallin has an unbeaten record filled with no name opponents.

Arum says Tyson Fury needed “a big guy” to prepare for Wilder

“The one requirement we had was that we needed to find a big guy because he will be facing a big guy when he fights Wilder for the title,” Arum said to in explaining his rationale for selecting Wallin for Fury to fight.  “Wallin was the best available fighter. He’s a decent fighter, he’s undefeated, he’s got a good punch and he’ll give Fury a tussle.”

Wilder fought Fury to a 12 round draw last December, and a lot of fans thought Tyson deserved the win. They were supposed to face each other in a rematch, but Top Rank signed Fury and pulled him out of the fight. Arum’s rationale for delaying the Wilder-Fury rematch was to let the fight marinate. He wanted to match Fury against other fighters so the U.S public could see Fury, and become fans of his.

The fans don’t buy Arum’s excuse for why Fury is facing Wallin. They see it as a slick attempt by Arum to put Fury in another showcase fight against an over-matched foe to make him look like a superstar in front of the casual boxing fans in the U.S. For many of the fans, they don’t follow the sport closely enough to identity mismatches. So when they see Fury destroying Schwarz and Wallin, they’ll think he’s better than he is.

Eddie Hearn criticizes Fury vs. Wallin fight

“Arum is more jealous because he used to have Andy Ruiz. Now he’s sick to his pants that he doesn’t have the world heavyweight champion,” said Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn to the  “Now he’s making Tyson Fury versus Otto Wallin which I wouldn’t make my worst enemy watch. Bob is very good at clouding the picture without noticing that he’s producing so much dross. “He’s got Fury fighting Wallin on Mexican Independence Day. It’s a complete flop, it’s a disaster,” said Hearn.

With less than 2 weeks to go before the Fury vs. Wallin fight, there’s not much fan interest in the fight. Few fans are talking about it, and it’s generated zero buzz. That’s not surprising though, since few fans have heard of Wallin. Arum found another unknown heavyweight with an unbeaten record and a high ranking for Fury to fight. This also reflects badly on the sanctioning bodies [IBF and WBA] that have Wallin ranked in their top 10.

Arum has recently been telling fans that he believes Andy Ruiz Jr. will beat Anthony Joshua in their rematch on December 7. Hearn promotes Joshua, and he obviously doesn’t like the idea of Arum picking against his fighter.  Arum used to promote Ruiz, and he didn’t keep him with his Top Rank stable. In hindsight, that was a mistake on Arum’s part. He’s missing out on the huge money from the Joshua-Ruiz rematch.

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