Luke G. Williams
Sweden week on the Boxing Monthly website kicked off on Monday with an interview with Badou Jack and continued on Tuesday with an interview with Adrian Granat and on Wednesday with an interview with Oscar Ahlin. Today we examine the current top six Swedish talents hoping to emulate Badou Jack and Mikaela Laurén’s recent world-title winning achievements.
Adrian Granat, age 25, heavyweight, 14-0 (13 KOs)
Granat is a highly-touted heavyweight based in Hamburg and promoted by Erol Ceylan’s EC Boxing. Sparring with Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin has aided his development and the 6’7½” heavyweight possesses formidable power in both fists, as well as impressive athleticism. Many feel ‘the Pike’ has what it takes to become Sweden’s first heavyweight world champion since Ingemar Johansson. In a bid to increase his profile and land a big fight, Granat has recently ‘called out’ British heavyweights Dillian Whyte, David Price and Hughie Fury.
Next up: A homecoming fight in Malmo in February 2017. Opponent TBC.
Otto Wallin, age 25, heavyweight 16-0 (11 KOs)
Aligned with the Sauerland stable, Wallin is Sweden’s other big heavyweight hope. A match against Granat to settle domestic supremacy is the biggest fight that can be made in Sweden right now and, although Wallin is not as explosive as Granat, his skills and footwork are surprisingly nimble for a heavyweight. The Sundsvall-born pugilist has recently benefitted from extensive sparring with Anthony Joshua in the UK and Krzysztof Glowacki in Poland.
Next up: A 9 December date in Nykoping with an opponent TBC.
Eric Skoglund, age 25, light-heavyweight (25-0, 11 KOs)
The current ‘poster boy’ of Swedish boxing. Good looking and marketable, Skoglund’s fierce tussle with South Africa’s Ryno Liebenberg co-headlined Sauerland’s high-profile April card in Stockholm. Ranked number 3 by the IBF, the most impressive name on Skoglund’s resumé is a faded Glen Johnson. Winning a world title will prove tricky in the talent-rich light-heavy division, but a Skoglund title shot on home soil would give Swedish boxing a huge boost.
Next up: A contest against Timi Shala aka the 'Albanian Bomber in Nykoping on 9 December.
Anthony Yigit, age 24, super lightweight (18-0-1, 7 KOs)
‘Can you dig it?’ Yigit has amateur pedigree, having reached the last 16 of the London Olympics. Now training in London alongside Mikaela Laurén with St Pancras-based CJ Hussein, Yigit has a crowd-pleasing style and fast hands. His best win so far? A three-round victory against experienced former WBO champ DeMarcus Corley.
Next up: A chance to land the vacant EBU title against the UK's Lenny Daws. Hennessy Sports have won the purse bid for this contest, so Yigit will most likely have to travel to the UK in his attempt to become European champion.
Oscar Ahlin, age 26, super-middleweight / light-heavyweight (13-2, 11 KOs)
The ‘Golden Boy’ has lost some of his lustre lately, but remains a talent to watch. Hard-hitting and a slick counter-puncher, he can, however, be outworked, and has recently dropped surprise points decisions to Bernard Donfack and Patrick Mendy. After sparring with Badou Jack in Las Vegas, the WBC champ declared Ahlin had what it takes to become a world champion, but the Stockholm-based boxer needs to get his career back on track with some quick wins first. A return to the light-heavyweight division now looks likely.
Next up: TBC. Ahlin is looking for a new trainer based outside Sweden before he fights again.
Klara Svensson, age 28, super-lightweight (16-1, 5 KOs)
Having defeated bitter domestic rival Laurén, the ‘Swedish Princess’ is the hottest property in Swedish women’s boxing right now. A highly decorated amateur, the WBC interim welterweight titlist now faces the formidable prospect of facing undisputed and undefeated welter champ and female pound for pound number one Cecilia Brækhus of Norway in a contest that seems sure to get Scandinavia buzzing once again.
Next up: The intimidating prospect of a challenge to Cecilia Brækhus, sometime in 2017.