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Wallin underrated or under-performance from Fury?

Tyson Fury

By Rob Maclean: Boxing isn’t decided by betting odds, it doesn’t always go the way you think it might. That applies to fans, analysts, trainers and fighters. When an undefeated yet untested Swede Otto Wallin (20-1, 13 KO’s) made the ascent into world class prize fighting against Tyson Fury (29-0-1, 20 KO’s), the odds and all of the above felt one result was possible… a dominant Fury win. Boxing, yet again, prove’s fights aren’t won or lost on paper.

Was Fury unprepared or was Wallin a better fighter than advertised? First we need to look at the context of this fight for both men. The Brit Fury was coming off of a dominant victory over Tom Schwarz (25-1, 17KO’s), a previously undefeated European fighter who was simply so inferior to Fury on every level, he was put away in the second round. Next, another undefeated European fighter, with a record almost identical to that of Schwarz. Two fighters comparable on paper, yet all so different on the night.

Fury also could have fallen into this trap, and this was made clear with his laissez faire approach to the first round. Wallin’s introduction to world level fighting wasn’t a step up by any means, as an orthodox Fury allowed Wallin to build up his self belief. He applied pressure, worked the body and made sure to throw whenever Fury did, a similar to tactic to that of a certain Mexican world champion.

In round two Fury replicated his approach to the Schwarz fight, he came out southpaw. Wallin continued to do what was successful in the first, shooting to the body more often. He backed Fury up to the ropes, however backed off after he got rocked with a left hook from long range.

Clearly growing in confidence after hurting Wallin, Fury backed to the ropes with more regularity. He dropped his hands on the ropes early in the round and caught a huge left hook that shook him. He again tried to drop his hands in the corner but this time paid the price, getting clipped with a short left hook which opened a huge gash on the eyebrow. Fury immediately begin pawing at it and ended the round clearly in discomfort. Wallin’s hand were far too fast to play possum with.

Round four was another round for the Swede as Fury was staying at range, but keeping his hands up to cover the cut. Wallin started the fifth in similar fashion, pushing his straight left into Fury’s stomach. It was in this round Fury made a tactical switch, he hadn’t done anything to dent Wallin, so he began to shorten the distance, as he bore forwards with his head down and hand’s high.

Going into the seventh Wallin still had enough energy to go to war with Fury on the inside and started the round well. However, toward the end of the round Fury began doubling up hooks to the body with a thudding sound authority. In the next round Fury dragged Wallin into the dog fight further, using his huge frame to trap Wallin’s arms, leaning on him and bringing punches up to the head. Wallin became more fatigued, helplessly letting Fury bully him up to the ropes and pound away with more draining punches.

With Wallin’s hand’s occupied, Fury found his best punch of the night in the right uppercut that he tried countless times, sometimes missing widely, other times rocking Wallin. At this stage it looked like being stopped, and clearly Fury had full intentions of getting rid of the Swede expending a lot of energy at the end of round ten and early in round eleven, with round ten arguably being a 10-8 score.

With no chance of winning on the scorecards, and being implored by his coach, Wallin landed a huge left hook in the twelfth, quickly rocking back the head of ‘The Gypsy King’. Throwing everything he had, Wallin couldn’t land a final significant punch to end the fight and Fury maintained his unbeaten record.

The fight was a moral victory for Wallin, but in no way was it close enough to score a win for him. I scored the fight 116-112 in favor of the giant Fury, with him coming close to a stoppage in the tenth. What I believed shocked the watching public, was the fact that Fury has built a reputation as a classy boxer and mover, however he went to the trenches to win this one. It was a very similar win to that which we saw in the Steve Cunningham fight. Fury being too casual early, being surprised by the hand speed and ability of his opponent and realizing he needed to switch to his back up plan… going to war.

Anyone who has followed the career path of the brash Fury will know he’s worked hard to become the clever fighter we witnessed beat Wladimir Klitschko. With that said, he can also perform to the level of his opponents at times, and that was evident in this fight. However, when most fighters have an ‘off night’ they lose. Fury is a lot of things… unpredictable, constantly making mistakes and gets into trouble against opponents he shouldn’t. But he finds a way to win regardless. Yes he underestimated Wallin. Yes he under-performed. But does that make the win any less than another victory in the roller-coaster career of Tyson Fury? It’s a victory all the same to him.

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