The last time the world saw heavyweight Otto Wallin fight, he was giving lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury all he could handle last September at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. What was meant to be nothing more than a quick tune-up for Fury before his highly anticipated rematch with Deontay Wilder instead became a real struggle for the "Gypsy King."
Wallin cut Fury in the third round and had him bleeding profusely. For a few rounds there was a palpable nervousness at ringside that the fight could be stopped and that the rematch with Wilder was in jeopardy. Fury eventually rallied in the second half of the fight and won by scores of 116-112, 117-111 and 118-110.
But in defeat, Wallin earned a newfound respect from fans and pundits alike. He hasn't seen action since that bout with Fury, although that stretch finally ends on Saturday when Wallin steps into the ring against Travis Kauffman at Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut.
Even though he hasn't had a fight in nearly a year, it's certainly been an eventful stretch of time for the 29-year-old from Sweden, who now resides in New York City.
ESPN recently caught up with Wallin, who shared his thoughts on his fight against Fury and what he has gone through since that moment. Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Facing Tyson Fury:
My impression was that he was very good. I watched his fights over the years. I watched him beat Wladimir Klitschko very easily, and then fought Deontay Wilder, and did very good against him. But also I felt there were things people haven't done to him, and I've got a good team, a good trainer in Joey Gamache. I'm a good fighter myself, so we knew that there were some things we could take advantage of. We knew what we were getting into. I've got good basics, I've got good feet, pretty fast hands for a heavyweight. I'm accurate and I've got good defense. I think that helped me in the fight.