Exclusive Interview With Odlanier Solis - ďI Have Everything It Takes To Be The BestĒ

By James Slater: Former Olympic gold medallist and all-round amateur standout Odlanier Solis is one win away from challenging for professional gold. Should the 30-year-old Cuban with the 16-0(12) pro record get past veteran Ray Austin in a final WBC eliminator in December, he will then challenge the formidable Vitali Klitschko for the green belt.

ďLa Sombra,Ē as the Miami-based 6í1.5Ē and approx 260-pound contender is known, is sure he will not only defeat Vitali, but then go on to unify all the heavyweight belts. Confident he will even go on to become ďthe greatest heavyweight ever,Ē Solis is hard at work getting ready for the Dec. 17th bout with ďThe Rain Man.Ē

Despite his busy schedule, however, Odlanier (via his trainer and interpreter Jose Perez) very kindly took time out to speak with me earlier today.

Here is what the Spanish-speaking heavyweight had to say:

James Slater: Thanks so much for your time, Jose, and for Odlanierís time. First of all, Odlanier, do you see Ray Austin as a dangerous opponent? Have you seen tapes of Austin?

O.S: No, Iíve seen nothing of him. Heís just like the rest of the fighters in the division. There is nobody in the division for me, they are all the same.

J.S: You are so much younger than Austin at age 30, do you see yourself scoring a KO and going on to the fight with Vitali Klitschko?

O.S: I expect to win and I will win. I donít care how I win.

J.S: Come December, you will not have fought in the ring for nine months - is there concern over possible ring-rust?

O.S: Why should I be worried? I train every day and Iím in shape.

J.S: At age 30, do you feel you are at tour peak right now?

O.S: Iíve still got a bit to go - before I become the greatest heavyweight fighter in the history of boxing!

J.S: You are obviously very confident. The experts seem to feel the Klitschkos are pretty much unbeatable right now. How will your fight with Vitali be different from the other fights heís had - where he hasnít lost a round, much less the fight?

O.S: You should ask him [Vitali] what he thinks about facing a guy like me, someone who he has never faced before. Heís never met a fighter like me before.

J.S: What do you think the other guys who have fought the Klitschkos have done wrong? Why can no-one even win a round against them?

O.S: Thatís their problem! All I know is about me and what I will do. I have my strategy, my coach has his strategy, and my promoter has his strategy. I have everything it takes to be the best. And I guarantee, when I beat the hell out of Vitali, after that everyone will be able to beat him!

J.S: Were you impressed by Vitaliís last couple of performances, against Albert Sosnowski and then Shannon Briggs?

O.S: Why should I be impressed by the Briggs fight, when Briggs wouldnít even spar with me? Heís a [near] 40-year-old, with no skills, nothing. He was just a punching bag in the fight. Actually, that tells you a lot about Vitali - that he couldnít KO a guy who was just sitting in front of him, doing nothing.

J.S: You are 16-0(12) now as a pro. Has anyone tested you? Who would you say has given you your toughest fight yet in the pro ranks?

O.S: No-one! (laughs)

J.S: Youíll obviously say yes, but having gone only as far as 9-rounds thus far, are you confident you can go the full 12 if needed?

O.S: I have the balls, the skills, and Iím not worried about doing 12 rounds, or as many rounds as I need to in any fight.

J.S: What would you say to those critics who say you carry too much weight in some of your fights?

O.S: Only I know my body. Iím not an [Chris] Arreola or one of those guys. Iím a different breed. Have you seen me fight, how fast I am and how many punches I throw?

J.S: Do you feel 2011 will be the year you emulate all your amateur success in the pro ranks?

O.S: When I signed with Arena Promotional group, they promised me theyíd get me to where I am right now. They should all be worried now - David Haye, the Klitschkos. I will get to the top of the division. One by one, I will beat all the top fighters. Nobody wanted to fight me, thatís why I had the nine months without a fight. I donít want to fight bums, I only want the best.

J.S: Itís important to you that you unify the division? You want all the belts?

O.S: Yes, by next year. I beat Haye once, in the world [amateur] championships, and I will do it again in the pro ranks. When I win my first world title, the first interview I will give will be with you (laughs).

J.S: Thank you! In your opinion, is Haye sacred of facing the Klitschkos? Or will he do so one day?

O.S: If heís scared, thatís his problem. But I would sign to fight Haye tomorrow morning. I ask you, why do you think he has not fought the Klitschkos?

J.S: I do feel he is reluctant to fight them, maybe out of fear.

O.S: Exactly. He might have the ability to beat them, heís good. But until he grows some balls, he is not capable of doing what it takes - whereas I am.

J.S: After all the gold medals you won as an amateur, do you feel there is more pressure on you to make it at pro level, compared to another fighter?

O.S: No. Iíve never had pressure on me, as amateur or pro. The only pressure I have comes from my family, from my kids.

J.S: You feel you can beat both Klitschkos; are you the only guy out there who can do it, and end their reign?

O.S: I donít know about the other guys, I donít know how they train. I donít care about them. I only want to fight the best. I have to fight Austin because it is a final eliminator and I have to go through him. It will take maybe three or four rounds and then Iíll be on to the next guy.

J.S: Well, we wish you luck with the December fight in Miami and then the Vitali Klitschko fight after that.

O.S: Gracias.

Article posted on 22.10.2010

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