Photo: S. Yamada/ARENA
Former heavyweight title challenger Odlanier Solis (18-1, 12 KOs) scored a twelve round unanimous decision over over world rated Konstantin Airich (22-5-2, 16 KOs) in an important heavyweight bout on Saturday night at the Pharr Convention Center in Pharr, Texas. The 2004 Olympic heavyweight gold medalist was in control from the opening bell. He had Airich in trouble in the third when he pushed him to the ropes and landed some clean shots. Airich was dazed for a moment but hung in there and survived. After that, Solis focused on controlling the action. In the 11th and 12th Solis put on a little more pressure but couldn’t stop the dangerous Airich who just couldn’t get in the right distance to do any damage. Scores were 118-110, 119-109, 119-109.
“I felt that I had too much respect for Solis”, said a disappointed Airich after the fight. “I didn’t go in as aggressively as I could have because I know that he is an excellent counterpuncher. I just didn’t deserve to win this fight but I will be back.”
“Konstantin showed a good fight and a good chin”, states Solis. “I tried to knock him out but he can take a shot. I also know that he is a hard-hitter so I tried to stay away from him. After all I am happy that my knee is well and that I could prove that I can go the championship distance even after my long injury break. I’m back. Now I want to fight more regularly to get back in the best possible shape. I know that there are a lot of things I can still work on and improve. But I am happy that I won the fight and took the belt as I had promised.”
Promoter Ahmet Oner was not happy with the performance of his Cuban star. “We all know that Solis can do better”, says Oner. “He looked a little rusty after the long lay-off. I wanted him to send a statement to the Klitschkos. After this performance we know that there is still a way to go. Now I have to do my job and get Solis fights against good opponents so he can improve and show that he is a world champion in the making.”
Unbeaten lightweight Jerry Belmontes (16-0, 5 KOs) returned from an eleven month layoff to outpoint Ramesis Gil (7-4-5 5 KOs) over eight rounds. Belmontes outboxed Gil, who stalked him all the way. Scores were 79-72, 77-74, 78-73.
Super featherweight Oscar Tovar (5-1, 3 KOs) stopped Gilbert Cancino (1-1) in round two.
Welterweight Raul Tovar (10-5-1, 4 KOs) won a four round unanimous decision over DuShaun Williams (4-10, 2 KOs).