vitali Klitschko and Solis at the press conference
By Clive Bernath: Despite being 39 years old Vitali Klitschko says he is in the best shape of his life. After 15 years as a professional boxer and 38 ko’s from 41 wins the Ukrainian born WBC heavyweight champion is fast approaching the end of a very successful career. He may not go down in history as one of the top 10 best heavyweights when he’s done but he will be regarded as one of the toughest.
On Saturday night at the Lanxess-Arena in Cologne, Germany Vitali, the older brother of IBF/WBO and IBO champ Wladimir Klitschko, faces arguably the third best heavyweight on the planet in unbeaten Cuban Odlanier Solis-which is why he will have prepared meticulously for this particular battle.
Speaking at Monday’s press conference to publicise Saturday’s fight a fully focused Klitschko said: "Solis is one of the hardest opponents of my career.
"I am ready, self-confident and I will once again prove my strength in the boxing ring.
Klitschko added; "There is a reason why I have the same belt Muhammad Ali had many years ago."
"Today I once again meet an Olympic champion, a three-times world champion, an experienced guy: young, hungry and still unbeaten as a professional. I am fully convinced that the fight will be very interesting.”
Despite admitting the undefeated Cuban could prove to be the toughest fight of his career, Vitali insisted: "I can fight 12 rounds at a high tempo but the fight won’t last 12 rounds".
Klitschko has good reason to take the challenge of Solis seriously. The 30 year-old may have fought just 17(12 ko’s) times as a pro but he does have a highly impressive amateur record, reportedly winning 347 times against 12 defeats. He is also a three time world amateur champion and Olympic Gold medallist. Of course the differences between amateur and pro boxing is vastly different but nonetheless Solis has been well schooled, is a clever boxer and should not be overlooked. Many experts make Vitali an overwhelming favourite to retain his title for the eighth time but Solis is young, fresh and ambitious.
Understandably, Solis, who beat WBA champion David Haye at the World Amateur Championships in 2001, has other ideas about the outcome of Saturday night’s clash: "I will win in the 12th round," Solis insisted. "If it happens sooner, all the better, then I’m happy. But in any case I will win.
Vitali Klitschko has tasted defeat just twice in 43 pro fights, both of those via injury, a damaged shoulder against Chris Byrd (rtd 9) back in April, 2000 and a serious cut eye against Lennox Lewis (tko 6) in June, 2003. Both times Klitschko was ahead on the scorecards. The likely outcome, barring injury, should see Klitschko once again retain his title but Solis will make sure he’s made to fight every inch of the way.
March 15, 2011