By Per Ake Persson
Berlin, Germany - Arena Box Promotion and Ludus Pugilato joined forces for a show at the Universal Hall with the main bouts televised by EuroSport and what shaped as a semi-interesting show on paper became very interesting as the evening progressed.
Heavyweight Odlanier Solis was expected to stop big Leif "El Vikingo" Larsen early but it became a tough fight where Larsen forced the action, missed with most of his power punches but while Solis would stun his opponent with his exellent counters he failed to follow up on them and failed to put punches together in combínations. As it was, Solis won a unanimous decision after twelve on scores of 116-112, 115-114 and 117-111 to retain the IBF I/C title.
"Solis big problem is inactivity," said promoter Ahmet Oner. "I need to have him back in action inside three months and he needed a fight like this."
Larsen was the much bigger man, clumsy and breathing heavily with an open mouth early in the fight but he kept coming and showed a good chin as Solis, the much better boxer, kept beating him to the punch. Solis looked stunned in the fourth but came back. However, a swollen and cut left eye seemed to hamper Odlanier after the eighth and then there was a false ending where Solis and his corner seemed to think the fight was over while the Norwegian corner had their fighter alert to two more and Larsen just kept coming.
"I was never shaken," said Larsen. "And I knew I had to punch when he punched to get him.
For Leif Larsen this was a victory in defeat. He lost clearly but showed a big heart, power and the kind of style that will make him a popular opponent for many of the contenders out there.
Former WBA heavyweight champ Ruslan Chagaev looked fired up and came out fast for the first of his scheduled ten rounder against Mike Sheppard and took out his opponent after only 1.35 of the first with a southpaw left uppercut.
Super middleweight Uensal Arik had a tough night against Tanzanian Francis Cheka in the final fight of the evening. Arik allowed his tall opponent to dictate terms in the first two and then went to work but Cheka traded with him and nailed Uensal in the fifth.
Arik was down on a knee, took a count and was wobbly at the bell. Arik took a beating in part of the sixth but came back somewhat at the end. Then early in the seventh Arik came out like a madman with Cheka covering up well against the ropes - and then the towel came in and the referee stopped the fight 15 seconds into the seventh of this IBF I/C title fight. It was a bad stoppage and the referee should of course have kicked back the towel to the corner. Cheka was furious at the stoppage. After six he was ahead on scores of 57-56 twice and 58-56.
Welterweight Selcuk Aydin outscored veteran Giusseppe Lauri after ten to win the PABA title. It was scored 100-90 on all cards. Lauri, once one of the best of Europe, showed his experience as Aydin kept coming without any real fire and battleplan and while the win was clear Selcuk´s performance left something to be desired.
Serbian Eva Halasi won the vacant IBF female welterweight title with a hard-fought decision over Croatian Ivana Habazin. Halasi won on scores of 96-94 twice and 98-92.
Aghvan Avrtsyan won the GBA Int´l German welter title with a TKO win over faded journeyman Marcen Gierke, who retired with an injured arm and didn´t come out for the ninth of this scheduled ten-rounder.