Otto Wallin has put a world title shot firmly at the top of his wishlist after going twelve rounds with lineal ruler Tyson Fury.
The Swede proved his credentials in a hard-fought battle, which on a different night, could have gone in his favor.
A cut opened up on Fury’s eye in the third round and Wallin targeted the area in order to get the ‘Gypsy King’ out of there.
On more than one occasion, ringside doctors ran the rule over the ailment, with meant the fight could have been stopped at any point.
Wallin, given time for reflection, commented on confusion in the corner over whether it was actually a punch or a headbutt.
“It was a left hook,” Wallin insisted to World Boxing News in an exclusive interview this week. “I saw right away that the cut opened up. You can see on the video that I celebrated it for a second.
“I haven’t seen anybody with a cut that bad, and is it got worse and worse, I thought he should’ve stopped it. At the same time, Fury was still fighting well. He deserves respect for that.
“I wanted to win. But I left it all in the ring and did everything I could to the best of my ability. Then I need to think you can’t be disappointed. I just have to go back and train even harder. To come back better and stronger.”
Asked about a controversial moment when Wallin inexplicably rubbed the gash in order to worsen it with his glove, Wallin explained his actions.
“I was in the biggest fight of my life. It was a lot of pressure on. I was just caught in the moment and it wasn’t good when I rubbed his eye,” he admitted.
On what’s next, Wallin says his performance is proof of his worth to the top division in the future.
“It’s good for me and it shows I belong at this level. I have a great coach in Joey Gamache who came up with a great game plan.
“I have no idea what’s next for me. Before this fight, I had only fought one round in eighteen months and that’s way too little.
“I need a few fights to get back. But at the same time if the right offer comes about I’m all in for it. I want to position myself in line for a world title shot.”
Concluding in response to whether ESPN could televise his next bout and whether stablemate Jarrell Miller was an option, Wallin stated: “I haven’t been in touch with Top Rank but I’m sure Dmitriy has. But regarding Jarrell Miller, I haven’t spoken to Dmitriy about that.”
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News and an Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay