Tuesday, May 30, 2023  |



Promoter Dmitriy Salita feels Otto Wallin has arrived as an elite heavyweight

Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank
Fighters Network

The promoter, no surprise, was on Cloud 8, after seeing his heavyweight do better than most folks predicted Saturday night in Las Vegas, in front of 8,000 plus fans at T-Mobile Arena on ESPN+.

Dmitriy Salita could have been on Cloud 9 if that power shot landed by his guy Otto Wallin in round 12 was a notch-plus stiffer and had heavyweight Tyson Fury flashing back in a real bad way to when Deontay Wilder dropped and almost stopped him.

But Fury collected himself, re-collected his marbles – probably only a couple had been ricocheted from the left hand catching him backing up a bit lackadaisically – and made it to the end of the road, so he heard the UD12 scores keep him on track for a rematch with Wilder.

He was that much richer, and will bear the scars of 40-plus stitches on his diced up eye….but at least, he likely pondered later that morning when he calmed enough to near sleep, at least I didn’t get AJ’ed.

Salita, on Sunday, looked on that bright side, for good reason, because his guy who so many assumed would get Schwarz’ed instead hung tough with the cagy Traveller, and by no means looked in over his head.

“He landed the most punches ever on Fury, according to CompuBox,” said Salita, the Brooklyn-based deal-maker, who also boasts the soon to be returning Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller and Claressa Shields in his A list stable.

“With the gained confidence and experience of being so close to beating the best heavyweight of our generation I expect Otto to flourish as a fighter on every level,” the Ukrainian born promoter stated. “Otto showed that he is in the heavyweight elite. He is only 28 years old with 21 fights. Heavyweight titles are in his future!”

Cloud 8 makes sense….Not one pundit predicted a Wallin upset and almost no one had foreseen that Wallin would be winning a few rounds and seeing social media chatter that the fight should have been stopped, and he should have been awarded the TKO on cuts.

Wallin left with an L, but a bettered rep. He is now in the mix as a title challenger moving forward and purses will be reflecting that.

His more bulging fan club will wonder; when and where will Wallin fight next? “Otto will take a rest and celebrate his arrival on the world stage,” Salita said. “I presume we will have Otto back early next year.”

One side note: the glove rub by Wallin on Fury’s leaky right eye, in round six.

Foul and filthy move, Queensberry fans ranted. So, what did Salita think of that tactic?

“It was a clean fight. That’s a picture, I’m not sure in what context this happened,” Salita said.  “There were some rough moments in the fight, mostly by Tyson which happened after he got cut. Tyson would crouch low, put his head in Otto’s chest and fight on the inside.”

My three cents: Lessons will be taken in by the Swede, who is contemplative and humble, and, I think, a good candidate from learning from mistakes. Among them…he will realize that Fury paced himself, and saved gas, so he could throw 71, 84 and 71 punches in round 9, 10 and 11.

He WAS rated as high as No. 4, by the WBA…and I’d expect him to climb in just about every ratings ladder with that outing.

Boxing is that strange sport…sometimes, you CAN win for losing.