By Jake Donovan
It didn’t take long for Deontay Wilder to dispatch former heavyweight titlist Siarhai Liakhovich on Friday evening, nor was it very long before fans and media began pondering his next step up in class.
Most were taken aback by the explosive manner in which Wilder (29-0, 29KO) finished off the badly faded Liakhovich. Others were uninspired, left with the feeling that it was more of the same and that the unbeaten American is badly in need of an opponent who – on paper – presents a challenge.
Add Odlanier Solis to the later category – not just as a critic but as a willing solution to that problem.
“I don't want to take anything away from Wilder - 29 wins and 29 KOs certainly speaks for a good build-up and a good job in matchmaking,” states Ahmet Öner, Solis’ promoter. “But I don't see Wilder as the next big thing - at least not until he fought a real opponent.
“I suggest for Wilder to step up and face my Olympic gold medalist and former world title challenger Odlanier Solis.”
Solis (20-1, 13KO) is attempting to pick up the pieces in his underachieving pro career. The 2004 Olympic Gold medalist has won three straight since suffering his lone loss as a pro – an injury-induced 1st round stoppage at the hands of Vitali Klitschko in March ’11. His most recent win came two weeks prior to Wilder’s latest feat, scoring a 7th round stoppage of Yakup Saglam in Germany.
The bout was Solis’ second of 2013, and a drop off from his ambitious level of competition prior to contending for a major title. The 33-year old believes he still has plenty to offer the barren heavyweight division, and the skill set to present the still-learning Wilder with a look he has yet to witness as a pro or during his brief amateur career, though one that included a Bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Games.
“Wilder may be the best US heavyweight but he surely isn't the best in America. Solis is the best Latino heavyweight and one of the best fighters in the world,” Öner insists of the Cuba-born Solis, who now calls Miami home. “I don't think Wilder and his handlers will accept a fight against Solis but I'm sure that Showtime would love it and do the fight. I’ve done business with Golden Boy in the past. I have no problems with them. Richard, let's get it on.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox