By Jake Donovan
A major crossroads bout in the heavyweight division is on the books, as contenders Odlanier Solis and Tony Thompson have reportedly agreed to terms for a March 22 showdown in Turkey.
"All contracts are signed, the fight is on", promoter Ahmet Oner confirmed in a press statement Friday morning. "Solis vs. Thompson is a great fight which I could actually do everywhere because it will gather lots of interest worldwide.
“I am very happy that all parties accepted and agreed. These are the fights we need to revive the heavyweight division."
Solis (20-1, 13KO) has won three straight since his knockout loss to then-heavyweight titlist Vitali Klitschko in March ’11. The Cuban export rubbed many in the industry the wrong way, however, after inexplicably pulling out of a planned November bout with American fringe contender Kevin Johnson, a winnable fight that would have propelled him back into title contention.
The move has left Solis without a fight since July, when he scored a 7 th round stoppage over Yakup Saglam in Germany.
Thompson (38-4, 26KO) managed to reinvent himself at age 42 thanks to the 2013 campaign he enjoyed. The Washington D.C. native made headlines for all of the right reasons after a shocking 2 nd round knockout of then-unbeaten prospect David Price last February in England.
Many so-called experts attempted to write off the shocker as a fluke, but Thompson duplicated the feat, stopping the Brit in four rounds last July.
The pair of wins earned the two-time title challenger a
heavyweight elimination bout, which—had he won—would have resulted in a third
fight with lineal heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko. However, his luck ran
out, as unbeaten Kubrat Pulev boxed his way to well-deserved unanimous decision
last August in Germany.
Assuming Thompson is fully on board for this bout (his camp has yet to confirm), the showdown with Solis will mark his fifth straight trip to Europe. Regardless of where the fight takes place, the American remains a threat, a status fully acknowledged by Solis and his camp.
"This fight could go either way", says Oner. "Of course, I believe in my fighter. I am still convinced that he will be heavyweight champion of the world. However, he has to beat guys like Thompson to get to the world title. I am pretty sure that the winner of this bout will get another shot at a title either later this year or in 2015 the latest."
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox