Home Boxing News Otto Wallin says “mentally fragile” Anthony Joshua is washed

Otto Wallin says “mentally fragile” Anthony Joshua is washed

Anthony Joshua and Otto Wallin

Swedish southpaw Otto Wallin 26-1 (14) says former two-time unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua 26-3 (23) is “mentally fragile” and on the decline ahead of their heavyweight clash at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on December 23.

“I would say he is still one of the best heavyweights out there and he’s made an amazing career for himself,” the 33-year-old Wallin said to Mail Sport’s boxing podcast The Hook.

“There has been a decline and I think he has reached his peak already. I think he is mentally fragile, he’s not sure of himself. He’s changed trainer and I think things can be very tough for him. People are very critical of him, he’s got a lot of pressure. So I think that weighs on him.”

Britain’s Joshua, 34, has had two fights under Texan trainer Derrick James but will be coached for this bout by Ben Davison in England in what is said to be a one-off.

“I think it’s a problem for him, for sure. I’ve had my trainer now for 10 years,” Wallin continued.

“We know each other really well. We trust each other in and out of the ring. He’s been with me for all of my pro fights except two, so it’s really been a good journey together and it’s fantastic we get this chance now to prove to everyone what we’ve been working on.

“For Joshua, it’s hard. When you keep changing trainer, it’s usually a bad sign and I think it’s a bad sign for him too.”

Wallin thinks Joshua is not the fighter he once was after becoming gun-shy following his knockout loss to Andy Ruiz Jr 35-2 (22) four years ago.

“I think it’s the perfect time to face AJ. He was a seek and destroy kind of guy, he was very aggressive,” Wallin said.

“When he first started, he had a short amateur career. He was knocking people out. Turned pro, knocking everybody out. Knocked [Wladimir] Klitschko out. And I think he felt invincible, pretty much.

“And then he lost to Ruiz, he got stopped. He lost to Usyk twice. I think he knows now that he’s vulnerable.

“He knows he can lose and he can get hurt and he doesn’t like that. He doesn’t like getting hit or getting hurt. He cares a lot about what people think of him and I think it’s hard for him when people are being critical or there are boos in the crowd, I think that’s really hard for him.”

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said that while facing a southpaw on relatively short notice wasn’t ideal, his boxer should have enough ability to win.

“When we say he has an issue with a southpaw, he had an issue with Oleksandr Usyk, you know, who is a pound-for-pound, maybe number one,” the Matchroom Boxing chief said to Fight Hub TV.

“But Wallin’s good. They’ve sparred rounds before. AJ beat him in the amateurs—it’s a long time ago, yeah, but really, ideally, you don’t really want to be fighting a southpaw, but you should be dealing with Otto Walliin.”

He added: “We have enough faith in AJ’s ability to take that fight, win that fight. But it will be tricky. And he has to be aggressive in that fight. I believe he will stop him.”