By Wayne Bartlett: It can only be described as a shame to see the lack of conditioning which is in danger of overcoming the ability of Odlanier Solis.
When the 32-year-old faced opponent Leif Larsen in the centre of the ring at the Universal Hall in Berlin tonight, it looked as though the only running either man had done in preparation for the bout had been in the pursuit of an ice-cream van.
For 12 rounds the Cuban defector (18’3¾), former Olympic heavyweight champion and three time World Amateur Champion was forced to dig deep against a tough, unbeaten, but crude 19’9¼ foe who formerly played defensive tackle in the NFL for the Buffalo Bills.
With Leif, 37, having just 5 victories in an unblemished 17-fight career coming against opponents with winning records, it was expected the now 19-1(12) Solis, the former amateur star, would have far too much for the Norwegian.
Instead the shorter, more skilful Solis worked well in the early rounds until being buzzed with a right hook in round 4 from his 6ft4 foe who destroyed Britain’s own Danny Williams inside 2 rounds in 2011.
Solis, who stopped another British heavyweight (albeit as an amateur), David Haye to claim gold at the 2001 World Championships, then went into his shell throughout the middle rounds, despite the gulf in class, to pot-shot as the cumbersome Larsen grew in confidence.
The ending of the 36 minutes culminating in scorecards of 112-116, 114-115 and 111-117 for the Cuban, was correct in result but harsh in their wideness in his first fight since May of last year.
As Larsen tastes defeat for the first time in his career, Solis heads back to the sunshine of Florida after his 11th fight in Germany, that included a 1st round KO loss following a knee injury against Vitali Klitschko for a world title.
We can only hope to see the talented Solis, who says his knee is well and wants to prove he is the best heavyweight around, go on to achieve his potential after a few fights won, and more than few pounds lost.
Date March 22
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