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Solis vs Larsen, Chagaev vs Sheppard, Aydin vs Lauri tonight in Berlin – Universal Hall



By Vladimir S: A lean looking heavyweight Odlanier Solis (18-1, 12 KO’s) will be in action tonight against the raw but powerful unbeaten Leif Larsen (17-0, 14 KO’s) in a scheduled 12 round bout at the Universal Hall in Berlin, Germany. Solis, 32, will be defending his IBF Inter-Continental heavyweight title that he won in his previous fight against Konstantin Airich.

Solis has fought only once in the past two years after been stopped in the 1st round by WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko in March 2011. That fight was a costly one for Solis, as he tore up his right knee in the fight and had to have surgery.

The knee continued to be a problem for him and he ended up staying out of the ring for over a year until returning to the ring to defeat Airich by an unimpressive 12 round unanimous decision last May. Solis weighed 267 pounds for the fight packed on a short 6’1” frame. It was clearly too much weight for a fighter that won a gold medal at 200 pounds in the 2004 Olympics.

In getting ready for Larsen, Solis has trimmed down, but he’s still carrying around a lot of flab that isn’t helping him. It may not get in the way of him winning tonight because he’s much experienced than Larsen, but the extra weight is going to likely hurt Solis when he eventually faces quality heavyweight at some point in the future. At 32, Solis is going to need to be a little more active if he wants to get another title shot. Fighting once a year isn’t going to get the job done.

Larsen, 6’4”, has got a puncher’s chance in this fight. He may not be experienced but he does have really good power. His problem is he’s never faced anyone as good Solis before, and it’s a big step up for him.

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Former WBA heavyweight champion Ruslan Chagaev (30-2-1, 19 KO’s) will continue with his slow climb to the top tonight by facing journeyman Mike Sheppard (20-14-1, 9 KO’s) in a scheduled 10 round bout. Chagaev lost his WBA title back in 2009 through inactivity. He was destroyed Wladimir Klitschko in 9 rounds in 2009, and then beaten two years later by Alexander Povetkin by a 12 round unanimous decision in a fight for the vacant WBA heavyweight title in 2011.

Since that defeat, Chagaev has been taking it easy in facing weak opposition, and he’s won his last three fights in beating Kertson Manswell, Billy Zumbun and Werner Kreiskott. It’s unclear if it’s Chagaev’s management’s idea for him to face weak opposition or if that’s his idea. Whatever the case, tonight will be Chagaev’s fourth consecutive weak opponent for him, and he’s burned through two years of his career facing these kinds of fighters.

At 34, you have to wonder when he’s going to test himself again because he’s going to age out soon and he can’t afford to be throwing years away like this in facing tune-up after tune-up. One fight you can understand but to burn through two years’ worth of weak opponents seems like a poorly thought out strategy.

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Former WBC Silver welterweight champion Selcuk Aydin (23-2, 17 KO’s) will be trying to turn his sagging career around tonight in a scheduled 8 round bout for the interim PABA light welterweight title against Giuseppe Lauri (53-11, 32 KO’s). Aydin, 29, at one time was ranked #1 by the WBC at welterweight, but he’s since lost his last two fights against Robert Guerrero and Jesus Soto-Karass, and looked poor in both fights.

Aydin showed zero improvement after his loss to Guerrero, and was dominated by Soto-Karass in losing by a 10 round majority decision last January. Aydin, now fighting at 154, has a lot of improvement to make in his game before he’ll be good enough to capture a world title at junior middleweight. It might not be possible because he doesn’t combinations, and he doesn’t punch hard enough at 154 to hurt fighters in this weight class.