- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Heavyweights Tony Thompson and Odlanier Solis have both fought for a world title and come up short. Now they are going to fight each other in the hopes that a victory will move them a step closer to another shot.
Promoter Ahmet Oner, who promotes Solis, announced Friday that he had a deal for the fight to take place on March 22 in Turkey, Oner’s home country.
“All contracts are signed. The fight is on,” Oner said, adding that he plans to stage the bout in Kusadasi, Turkey. “Solis versus 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.”
Oner is laying it on a bit thick, but it is a match of two veteran contenders. Thompson has had two shots at the world title, losing twice by knockout to Wladimir Klitschko in 2008 and 2012. In 2013,
Thompson (38-4, 26 KOs), a 42-year-old southpaw from Washington, D.C., revived his career with back-to-back upset knockout wins against hot British prospect David Price before losing a decision to Kubrat Pulev in a title eliminator in August.
Solis won an Olympic gold medal for Cuba in 2004 before defecting to Germany, where he is based. He got a 2011 world title shot against Vitali Klitschko and lost by first-round knockout when he badly injured his knee in the final seconds of the round and was unable to continue.
Solis (20-1, 13 KOs), 33, returned in May 2012, 14 months after the loss, and has won three fights in a row.
“This fight could go either way,” Oner said. “Of course, I believe in my fighter, Odlanier Solis. 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 at the latest.”