Swedish boxing expert Olof Johansson expects ‘history to be written’ on Saturday in Sundsvall as heavyweight rivals Otto Wallin (19-0, 13 KOs) and Adrian Granat (15-1, 14 KOs) go toe-to-toe for the European Union title at the Gärdehov Ice Hockey Arena.
Wallin, the hometown hero, and Granat his opponent from Malmo, have been on a collision course since joining the professional ranks in 2013, and following years of speculation, finally the time has come to see who is Sweden’s number one heavyweight.
Johansson tells fans to expect a ‘classic clash’ as he compares their Swedish showdown to other great domestic rivalries, and predicts the winner can go on to challenge for the biggest prize in boxing – the World Heavyweight Championship!
“I expect history to be written here in Sundsvall! I have a feeling that this is going to turn into a classic clash and a fight for the ages,” says Johansson.
“Its right up there, comparable to the great fight between Armand Krajnc and Paolo Roberto for the WBO World Middleweight title in 2001, or a stranger comparison would be the huge heavyweight clash between Anders Eklund and Roger Andersson, who fought in an Olympic qualifier in 1980 and attracted a crowd of 7,200 for an amateur fight!
“It’s as big a sport rivalry as you could ever hope to see, two of the best fighters of their generation going head-to-head – it’s not something that happens very often in this country.”
Johansson believes it is the differences between the two men’s fighting styles and personalities that turns this rivalry into such as a fascinating contest.
“It’s a case of opposites colliding,” explains Johansson. “Adrian and Otto are two very different fighters, both very good at what they do, but truly unalike in boxing styles and personalities. A solid puncher vs. a technician. An outspoken, loud and somewhat arrogant lad against a more laid back, softly spoken opponent. A southerner vs. a northerner. A bit of a bad boy against a good guy. It’s going to be dynamite!”
Neither fighter will be looking past Saturday’s EU title tussle, but for the winner, Johansson can see a road to glory and a chance to challenge for the division’s biggest belt.
“I believe the winner of this fight can go on to challenge for the World Heavyweight crown,” he says. “But as always with the big fellows, it takes good people behind them to steer the ship the right way. It will be no easy task, but the winner in Sundsvall, will be on the verge of something big. The European title, for sure, and beyond that the sky is the limit!
“There are no easy ways forward, but the opportunities will be absolute. Can a World title shot be reached? Why not? Can it be won? That’s the big question. It all depends on the road and their journey, but once they’re there, who’s to say?!”
Otto Wallin and Adrian Granat meet in a Swedish super fight for the European Union Heavyweight title on April 21 at the Gärdehov in Sundsvall on the same night Mikaela Laurén challenges Verena Kaiser for the IBO Female World Super Welterweight strap.
Sven Fornling defends his IBF Baltic title against Karel Horejsek, while rising Swedish stars Oliver Flodin, Robin Safar, Simon Henriksson, Rocco Wadell and David Loy, and international heavyweight talents Albon Pervizaj and Agron Smakici return to action.