Otto Wallin grinds out split decision over Murat Gassiev in Turkey
Heavyweight Otto Wallin is knocking on the door to a world title shot.
Wallin was able to grind out a hard-fought split decision over Murat Gassiev Saturday night at the Regnum Carya Hotel in Antalya, Turkey. One judge scored the bout 117-111 for Gassiev, while the other two judges scored the bout 115-113 for Wallin, who improved to 26-1, 14 knockouts.
Gassiev landed the more effective punches early on, but Wallin, who is originally from Sundsvall, Sweden and now resides in New York City, was able to outbox Gassiev, beginning in round three.
The southpaw Wallin began to find a rhythm. Gassiev would connect with right hands and left hooks, but Wallin began to vary his offense, initiating exchanges or finding openings to counter Gassiev.
During the sixth round, a right hook to the head momentarily stunned Gassiev. Wallin looked to follow up, but Gassiev was able to use his ring savviness to clench or fight out of a clench.
Wallin boxed effectively during most of the second half of the fight. Gassiev attempted to walk him down against the ropes, and while the tactic was effective at times, did not let his hands go more as he should have.
Sensing he might have been down in the fight, Gassiev pressed the action. He was able to connect, but Wallin was effective staying off the works and attempting to outbox Gassiev.
The win over Gassiev should earn Wallin an opportunity to crack the top 10 of the Ring Magazine rankings. In his last bout on January 27, a stay busy fight, Wallin defeated Helaman Olguin by decision over eight one-sided rounds.
The 32-year-old has won his last six fights since a close unanimous decision loss to Tyson Fury. Wallin is promoted by Dmitriy Salita and managed by Jolene Mizzone.
Gassiev, who is originally from Vladikavkaz, Russia and now resides in Big Bear, California, falls to 30-2, 23 KOs. Gassiev previously fought on March 3, knocking out previously unbeaten Mike Balogun.
The 29-year-old Gassiev had won his previous four fights since losing to Oleksandr Usyk in July 2018 in a world unification title fight.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]