By Alexey Sukachev & Jake Donovan
Universal Hall in Berlin, Germany - Former world title challenger and ex-amateur superstar Odlanier Solis (19-1, 12 KOs) resumed his boxing activities after a nine month layoff and scored a workmanlike unanimous decision over previously undefeated Norse heavyweight Leif Larsen (17-1, 14 KOs) to retain his IBF I/C title for the first time. Solis, 32, looked rusty and was out of shape against a very ordinary albeit very durable opponent. Scores were: 115-114, 116-112 and 117-111 - in favor of 2004 Athens Olympic gold medalist and three time world amateur champion.
Larsen, 37, had a perfect record coming into this contest and fought all over Europe to build one. However, Leif Larsen took up boxing seriously only in 2002 after a lengthy career as an international athlete in shot put and then as a defensive tackle for the Buffalo Bills. He boxed accordingly, showing good stamina, great chin and poor speed and technique. The native of Norway was aggressive all fight long but in the first half his lazy jab and rare power bursts did little to frustrate the Cuban. Solis countered Larsen well, making subtle moves backwards and rolling with Larsen's punches before scoring with sudden one-two combinations in return.
Situation got better for the unbeaten veteran in the second half of the contest, when he finally caught his breath and started to time his offensive activities better. Solis was rocked a couple of times after looping right swings of Larsen, which landed over his tight block to the ear section of the Cuban's head. Larsen's presistance and durability helped him to look superior to his foe during the closing stanzas. Solis also suffered a bad gash over his right eye, which started to close rather fast during the last round. BoxingScene scored it 116-112 - for the Cuban fighter.
WBA #3 and IBF #6 ranked heavyweight Ruslan Chagaev (31-2-1, 20 KOs) was in a completely different league with American journeyman Mike Sheppard (20-15-1, 9 KOs) in what can barely be named a tune-up fight. It took Chagaev less than two minutes to get the job done. The knockout was a result of a huge left uppercut, which had Sheppard down to the count of ten.
Selcuk Aydin snapped a two-fight losing streak with a unanimous decision win over Guiseppe Lauri in their ten-round welterweight bout (though originally scheduled for eight).
No scores were announced, but Aydin showed considerable improvement from his past two fights, maintaining a steady work rate and also managing to cut Lauri over the left eye. The facial wound never became a major factor, other than for Lauri (53-12, 31KO) to have one more thing to worry about. The Italian journeyman has now lost four of his last five contests.
Aydin picks up his first win in 16 months as he improves to 24-2 (17KO). Back-to-back stateside losses to Robert Guerrero and Jesus Soto Karass left his career in a tailspin, though the 29-year old Turk still has plenty of time left to turn things around.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox