Wallin Outworks Gassiev In An IBF Heavyweight Eliminator
After twelve rounds, it was all smiles for Sweden’s Otto Wallin (26-1, 14 KOs), who came away with a spit-decision victory (115-113×2 Wallin, 117-111 Gassiev) over former unified cruiserweight champion Murat Gassiev (30-2, 23 KOs) at the Regnum Carya Hotel in Antalya, Turkey in an IBF Heavyweight Title eliminator.
Wallin is the taller and larger fighter. He used his height and right jab to establish the pace in the early rounds. Gassiev tends to march forward behind a high and tight guard. But it didn’t work in this contest, as he had difficulty dealing with the footwork and controlled distance set by his opponent.
In round six, Wallin buckled Gassiev with a counter right hook. He tried going for the finish, but the former cruiserweight champion survived that troublesome moment. Wallin spent the rest of the fight boxing on the back foot. His punches were not that hard, but more often. Gassiev continued to be the aggressor. However, he was plodding and long periods of rounds not letting his hands go. As a result, he was getting outworked.
It was not the most exciting fight. But in the end, Wallin did what he needed to secure the victor. As an aside, despite the split decision scores from the judges, this reporter felt Wallin win handily.
It’s the sixth straight win for Wallin following a unanimous decision defeat to Tyson Fury in September 2019. Ranked eighth by the IBF and ninth by the WBO, Wallin moves one step closer to what he hopes is a world title fight in 2024. For Gassiev, it’s back to the drawing board.