Tyson Fury, the lineal heavyweight world champion, will enter the ring Saturday night on ESPN+ at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas seeking to extend his undefeated record as a professional boxer to 30 fights, as he currently sits at 28-0-1.
Standing in his way is another undefeated fighter in Otto Wallin (20-0-0), a Swedish heavyweight making a significant leap up in competition and only his second fight stateside. Fury is a massive favorite at 16-1, but as we learned earlier this year in the shocking knockout of Anthony Joshua by Andy Ruiz Jr., massive favorites can be toppled with the right punch in the heavyweight division.
Fury seems focused on not letting that happen and is quick to praise Wallin, knowing the first lesson of fight promotion is to always put over your opponent. Still, the real prize fight for Fury is on the horizon, as he has an agreement in place for a second bout with WBC champ Deontay Wilder in which they’ll look to settle the score after they fought to a draw (both fighter’s only draw on an otherwise perfect record) a year ago. Fury must get past Wallin and Wilder must get past Luis Ortiz before that can happen, but as Fury told Uproxx Sports last week, while Ruiz and Joshua battle for a number of belts, the only heavyweights that matter are the two undefeated ones.
“To be honest, there’s only two people in the heavyweight division, and that’s me and Deontay Wilder,” Fury said. “Andy Ruiz has already been beat by Joseph Parker, and Anthony Joshua’s been beat by Andy Ruiz Jr. So they’re beaten fighters, and when a man gets beat in the boxing ring, it sort of takes the edge off of him. It takes the hype away. So there’s only two undefeated fighters left at this level and that’s me and Wilder, and that’s the only fight I’m interested in.”
Fury spoke further on the state of the heavyweight division, the frustrations of the business of boxing getting in the way of making great fights happen, his expectations from Wallin, and his battle with depression and mental health that took him away from the sport for two years after reaching the pinnacle.
You’re a week away from fight night, how are you feeling, how has camp gone and where are you at right now?
I feel fantastic. I’m ready to fight tonight. Training’s gone well, I’m injury free. I’m healthy, you know, fit as a fiddle, and healthy as a crab.
You face Otto Wallin next Saturday. What do you expect from him in the ring?
I expect a good fight, strong fight. He’s a tall, big fighter. He’s European, he’s fit, he’s in shape, and he’s got punch strength. So, you know, with his pace it’ll be a good fight.