by Rick Reeno
Promoter Ahmet Oner of Arena Box spoke to BoxingScene.com to give us the background on a promotional dispute over heavyweight Odlanier Solis (18-1, 12KOs).
Promoter Don King is claiming to have a promotional piece of Solis. Back in 2010, Solis became a free agent after parting ways with Top Rank. Oner would eventually speak with King about a co-promotional agreement on Solis. The two of them came together to co-promote Solis' final WBC eliminator against Ray Austin in December 2010.
According to Oner, Solis never signed any documents that contractually bound him to King. After the Olympic gold medal winner suffered a serious knee injury in his March 2011 defeat to Vitali Klitschko - the support from King became non-existent. Solis underwent several surgical procedures and months of rehab, and Oner helped cover those expenses.
Oner came together with Main Events to stage Solis' comeback fight last May against Konstantin Airich. Contrary to what King is claiming, Oner says the veteran promoter has no contractual hold on his fighter.
"I signed with Don King years ago, when Solis fought Austin in Miami, a co-promotion. But Solis never signed, Solis never wanted to be with Don King. I signed as a promoter. But what happened after the fight, Don never did anything for Solis. I gave him the last Airich fight. I got Main Events to put him on the show. I paid for everything. Even Main Events paid some costs last year...not Don King," Oner told BoxingScene.com.
"And when Solis was injured on his knee from the Klitschko fight, I took care of everything. Before the Ray Austin fight, we agreed to a co-promotion but what happened is - we had so many issues that we agreed that he would pay me more money - and he paid me some money but never what I wanted. He told me that I could take it off the top from the Klitschko event and I took what I had to take. But [paying] the coach, the training expenses and taxes deducted from the Klitschko fight - it didn't really leave too much. And the expenses after the fight, to take care of Solis, there wasn't really nothing left for Don King. Don never did anything. He never wanted to invest any money or get him a fight or do something for him."
"Now he's coming [around and saying he co-promotes Solis]. He can come after me. He can come and talk to me. But he has nothing [on Solis]. Don King has ruined many fighters' careers. Don King, in my opinion, only thinks of himself. And now he's dealing with a guy like me and now he has a little headache because I'm not like other guys - I don't let him play with me, I don't let him f*** with me. Don King can't f*** with me. If Don King wants to say something, I can go meet him in Miami. I can go meet him anywhere. He can try his luck. Don King is talking everything from one side, he's not objective. Don King only wants the TV to give him money and he takes his share."
"Don should really not talk about this anymore. He should retire because he is not understanding that the TV market changed. In the U.S. no heavyweights are really on [TV], so if you promote heavyweights you have to invest money and put them in fights and pay for training camps. You cant tell a fighter like Solis 'you are worth sh*t and your training camp is too much money, we can't spend that much.' You need to spend to get him to a world championship fight, even if you don't have the budget. And I did it, many times [with my fighters].
Oner confirms that there is interest from K2 Promotions in securing Solis for a potential fight with WBO/IBO/WBA/IBF champion Wladimir Klitschko on April 6th. Whether its Klitschko or somebody else, Oner wants Solis to return to action no later than April.
"Odlanier Solis is training with Pedro Diaz. We have many offers for some fights and we'll see what is coming now. [I expect him back] in April the latest," Oner said.