(Photo credit: Team Thompson) By Allan Fox: #5 IBF, #10 WBC heavyweight contender Odlanier Solis (20-1, 13 KO’s) will be taking on two-time world title challenger #1 IBF, 42-year-old Tony Thompson (38-4, 26 KO’s) this Saturday, March 22nd in Istanbul, Turkey. The two fighters will be battling it out for the vacant WBC International heavyweight title. But the fight is a lot more important than the little known title that will be on the line. The winner of the fight will keep in the hunt for a world title shot against one of the heavyweight champions, while the loser will likely see his career skittering downward in the top 15 rankings.
If Solis, 33, comes into shape for this fight then he should be able to come out on top and win a decision based on his hand speed, power advantage and his youth. However, he’s someone that tends to come into his fights in the mid-250s, and that’s a lot of weight to be putting on a small 6’1” heavyweight. Carrying around all that weight has led to Solis having knee problems, which caused him to miss a year of his career after his 1st round knockout loss to WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko in March of 2011.
Solis’ right knee gave out on him in that fight, causing the bout to be stopped in the 1st round before he even had a chance to get warmed up. He’s since had surgery and lost a little bit of weight. However, the weight is still there on his short frame more or less, and it seems obvious at this point that he’ll never the 200 lb. fighter he was when he captured an Olympic gold medal in 2004. He’s put on weight since turning pro with much of it in the form of fat.
Solis comes into Saturday’s fight with a 3-fight winning streak in beating Konstantin Airich, Leif Larsen and Yakup Saglam. None of those guys are particularly good opponents. It’s going to be a lot harder for Solis to deal with someone as large and as talk at the 6’5” Thompson.
Thompson has lost 2 out of his last four fights in defeats against Wladimir Klitschko and Kubrat Pulev. However, those are very big heavyweights and much different than the 6’1” Solis. Thompson has a real chance to pull off an upset if he can stay busy and handle himself well in the ring by sticking to a game plan.