By Phil Doherty at ringside
Photos: David Martin Warr
In a bizarre finish to tonight’s WBC heavyweight eliminator, Ray “The Rainman “ Austin (28-5-4, 18 KO’s) suffered a disqualification loss to Odlanier “La Sombra” Solis (17-0,12 KO’s). Solis dominated the action with superior handspeed, defense and combination punches. Although Austin held height and weight advantages, Solis had him moving backwards for most of the fight. Austin’s jab slowed down to a mere push in the later rounds as Solis’ energy seemed to increase. The tenth round saw Solis land a solid one-two that stunned Austin followed by a blistering 4 punch combination to put the “Rainman” on wobbly legs. Austin ate another right hand that caused him to clinch Solis into the ropes. That’s when things got weird. Austin pushed Solis into the ring ropes at the bell and the two men almost toppled over only to get pushed back up by promoter Ahmet Oner and referee Tellis Assimenios. When the two fighters finally righted themselves, Austin threw an ill-advised punch that connected. That was enough for referee Tommy Kimmons who he immediately disqualified Austin. The win means Solis will face WBC world heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko next year for the title.
Tavoris “Thunder” Cloud (22-0, 18 KO’s) retained his IBF light heavyweight belt with a unanimous decision victory over rugged Colombian challenger Fulgencio Zuniga (24-5-1, 21 KO’s). Cloud dictated the pace with double jabs followed by thunderous right crosses and left hooks to pile up the points from the opening round. However Zuniga would not go away as he scored with left uppercuts and displayed a decent jab of his own. Cloud knocked Zuniga to the canvas with a left hand as he appeared to lose his footing. Referee Tellis Assimenios administered a standing eight count to the Colombian slugger. Judges scores were 117-108, 118-108 and 116-109 for the undefeated light heavyweight from Tallahassee who now looks to find bigger fights against the other big names in the division.
Ricardo “El Matador” Mayorga (29-7-1, 23 KO’s) unleashed furious shots soaked with malicious intent to score a 9th round TKO victory over Michael “Midnight Stalker” Walker (19-6-2, 12 KO’s). Mayorga landed left hooks in the corner to start the ninth and force Walker to take a knee. He kept punching however and suffered a 2-point deduction from referee Tommy Kimmons. It wasn’t enough to deter “El Matador” as he obviously had a knockout on his mind and saw it to fruition at 1:09 of the same round.
The final two bouts on the undercard of tonight’s “Tribute to Freedom” card ended in quick succession as Turkish heavyweight prospect Erkan Teper (3-0, 3 KO’s) demolished Donato DeMartiis (2-1, 1 KO) by TKO in 1 minute 49 seconds of the first round. Cuban lightweight Angelo “La Cobra” Santana (10-0, 7 KO’s) unloaded serious leather to stop John David Charles (6-2, 1 KO) at 2:59 of the 3rd round by TKO.
Sometimes the name-calling before two fighters enter the ring is an indicator of the aggression to come within the ring. That didn’t seem to be the case tonight however. New York-based heavyweight Darrel “King” Madison (16-1, 4 KO’s) made the most of his trip to the Sunshine State tonight to earn a unanimous decision victory over Michael Marrone (19-2, 14 KO’s). Marrone vainly tried to set up big shots throughout the fight as he stalked Madison. However, Madison displayed the quicker hands and frustrated Marrone with quick straight lefts and right jabs from his southpaw stance. Judges scores were 100-90, 98-92 and 99-91 for “King David” Madison.
Eileen Olszewski (7-2-2) claimed the WIBA/GBU female flyweight belt with a unanimous decision victory over Anastasia Toktoulova (13-11, 2 KO’s). Olszewski leveraged her superior footwork and combination punching to stunt Toktoulova’s come-forward style. All judges scored the bout 80-72 for Olszewski.
Cuban cruiserweight Pedro Rodriguez (4-0, 4 KO’s) brought a soft belly into the ring tonight as he took this fight on short notice. Unfortunately for opponent TJ Cook(1-1, 1 KO), Rodriguez didn’t forget to pack his heavy hands. Rodriguez scored with short, chopping hands to stun Cook in the 2nd round. Cook tried to slow the assault with body shots but Rodriguez forced the action in the corner and scored 2 big rights to drop Cook as the 2nd round bell rang. Referee Tellis Assimenios waved off any further punishment.