By: Hans Themistode
Dominic Breazeale was viewed as a step-up fight. The kind that wouldn’t be an easy night at the office for Otto Wallin, but one that he should ultimately walk away from with his hand raised in victory if he wanted to place himself in title contention.
After 12 rounds with the former multiple-time title challenger, Wallin cruised past Breazeale and proved that another title shot could be just around the corner. Still, the Swedish product has more work to do if he wants to place himself in the front of the line when the dust at the top of the division clears between unified champion Anthony Joshua and WBC/Ring magazine belt holder, Tyson Fury, a man Wallin nearly defeated almost two years ago.
In order to get his next crack at a world title, Wallin will need to step up his competition. Luckily for him, the heavyweight division is filled with plenty of names that, if he beats, can place him on the map. Let’s take a look at the best matches to make for him next.
Charles Martin’s title win in January of 2016 was a bit fluky. His contest against Vyacheslav Glazkov ended early in his favor due to Glazkov suffering an injury to his right knee. The injury was so bad in fact, that Glazkov has never fought again.
Still, despite the fortunate win, Martin (28-2-1, 25 KOs) loss the title in his first defense against Anthony Joshua in the second round. Outside of an additional loss to Adam Kownacki in 2018, Martin has reeled off three straight stoppage wins. His title reign may have been a short one, but defeating a former world champion is exactly the sort of win that Wallin needs plastered on his own resume.
There’s a lot to like about Michael Hunter. Since making the move to the heavyweight division he’s won seven contests with a draw against top contender Alexander Povetkin sandwiched in between. He was last seen in the ring closing out his 2020 with a fourth-round knockout win over Shawn Laughery.
Hunter (19-1-1, 13 KOs) didn’t appear to be in the best of shape but he picked up the win and continues to rise. For Wallin, beating an older Dominic Breazeale is a solid win, however, taking down a younger, fresher fighter in Hunter would begin to turn a few heads.
Just when you think Dereck Chisora has nothing left in the tank, he turns back the clock a few years and makes everyone look a bit foolish. Going into his heavyweight showdown against Oleksandr Usyk in October of 2020, Chisora (32-10, 23 KOs) wasn’t given much of a shot. The expectations were for the British contender to get outboxed for 12 rounds and look lethargic while trying to catch up to his man. While he didn’t pick up the win, Chisora put up one helluva fight.
Chisora’s career has always been a rollercoaster ride. He lost three straight fights to Robert Helenius, Vitali Klitschko and David Haye in 2011/2012, then reeled off five straight. He was knocked out cold against Dillian Whyte in 2018, then bounced back and started leaving his opponents comatose for three straight contests.
Chisora would present Wallin with the ultimate risk but a decent reward as a win over him would make everyone take notice.
While a win over the other names on this list would make a few fans latch on to Wallin’s bandwagon, a victory over Luis Ortiz would make just about everyone jump on board.
Regardless of the dust on his birth certificate, the 41-year-old is still regarded as one of the best heavyweights in the world. Like most, the chin of Ortiz simply couldn’t hold up against the power of Deontay Wilder. Still, Ortiz (32-2, 27 KOs) carries around the sort of clout that Wallin needs.
Even at his current age, Ortiz is seldom, if ever called out. For Wallin, if he were able to not only call out the former title challenger but actually defeat him, he wouldn’t have to beg for a title shot. One would be presented to him immediately.
Kubrat Pulev is good, very good even but he doesn’t appear to be great. Under normal circumstances, Wallin would have little to gain in defeating him. With that being said, Pulev has the power of perception standing in his corner.
Just a few months ago, Pulev (28-2, 14 KOs) was standing across the ring from unified champion Anthony Joshua. Although it wasn’t exactly a close contest and despite Pulev getting knocked out in the ninth round, most of the boxing world remembers that he was at the very least, fighting for a world championship to begin with. Those opportunities aren’t given to just anyone.
A dominant win over him would make boxing fans compare performances. Considering the roll he’s on, if Wallin can somehow end things earlier than Joshua did, many will begin to consider Wallin as a worthy title contender.