Odlanier Solis vs. Konstantin Airich on Saturday; Edwards battles Satchell in Aintree
International Boxing Federation (IBF) #12, WBO #11 rated heavyweight Konstantin Airich arrived in the United States yesterday to adjust to time and weather conditions for his IBF intercontinental championship bout against Odlanier Solis this Saturday (May 19th) at the Convention Center in Pharr (Texas).
Article posted on 16.05.2012
Airich and his trainer, former German national coach Hans-Juergen Witte, flew from Germany to Miami where they conclude their preparation for the Solis fight with a couple of lighter training sessions before heading to McAllen International airport on Thursday.
Airich (23-5-2, 17 KOs) is the big underdog against 2004 Olympic gold medalist and multiple times world amateur champion Odlanier Solis (17-1, 12 KOs).
"I know that Solis is an excellent fighter", says Airich. "But I also know what I’m capable of. I have surely not come to the United States just to hand over my belt to him. I know that there is always a chance and I am willing to take it."
When working out in Miami Airich wore a t-shirt stating "Nothing is impossible" which might as well be his motto for this fight. "Anything can happen in a boxing ring", adds Airich. "Especially in the heavyweight division one single punch can decide a fight at any time. I consider Solis one of the best fighters in the world today but being the best fighter doesn’t help you when you lie flat on the ground."
The German "Sandman" himself is considered to be one of the hardest punchers in the world. He is a regular sparring partner for both Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko and is coming off two impressive KO wins over Varol Vekiloglu and Ondrej Pala.
"Being the underdog makes things even easier for Konstantin", says his coach Witte. "Nobody expected him to beat Pala – but he did. Now nobody expects him to beat Solis. So he can enter this fight without any pressure. But one thing is for certain: Solis is a complete boxer. With all his amateur merits, his technical and tactical abilities we are surely not here to outbox him and win by decision. Konstantin knows what he has to do: We will go for the knockout."
For Solis the fight against Airich will be his comeback after a 14 months layoff due to the bad knee injury he suffered when challenging WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko for the world title in March 2011 in Cologne, Germany. The Miami based Cuban suffered a cruciate ligament rupture at the end of the first round in which Solis had landed more clean shots on Klitschko than the champion had to take in all his other fights combined since coming out of retirement in 2008.
"In this first two and a half minutes against Klitschko Solis proved that he is probably the only fighter out there who can actually beat both Klitschko brothers", states promoter Ahmet Oner. "Solis is an exceptional talent and as long as he stays healthy he will surely become world heavyweight champion. But as we all know styles make fights. And Airich is a hard puncher, has a great work ethic and strong willpower. He has worked very hard to get to where he is right now. This will clearly be no walk in the park for Solis. I am looking forward to an exciting fight."
Wilson ready for his shot
Irish cruiserweight Wilson ready to make his mark next week in New England debut
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (May 15, 2012) – Mike Wilson has spanned the globe from Texas all the way to Australia searching for his golden opportunity.
The 6-foot-3 Irish cruiserweight from Medford, Oreg., whose grandparents were born and raised in County Cork, Ireland, may have finally found it 3,000 miles east in the heart of New England’s booming boxing community.
Wilson (5-0, 3 KOs) has joined forces with Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports in Providence, R.I., and will make his New England debut Thursday, May 24th, 2012 when he faces veteran Joseph Rabotte (11-20-1) in a four-round bout on the undercard of Burchfield’s “Up For Grabs” show at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln.
“I’m the best-kept secret on this show. You’ll be wondering, ‘Damn, where did he come from?’” Wilson said. “I’ve flown under the radar for years coming from Oregon. I just needed an opportunity, and it looks like it’s finally coming my way.”
“The Irish have a tradition of being warriors, especially when they’re ancestors come from Ireland,” Burchfield added. “That’s how you know they’re really Irish! We’re honored to have Mike on this card, and we’re excited to watch him develop into a championship-caliber fighter while proudly representing boxing’s storied history within the Irish-American community.”
Wilson linked up with Burchfield through his manager, Bob Spagnola, whom Burchfield describes as a “dear friend.”
“Knowing Mike was represented by Bob was enough for me,” Burchfield said.
A Texas native, Spagnola first met Wilson at the 2008 Olympic Trials in Houston. At the time, Wilson was a 24-year-old super heavyweight with three United States National Amateur titles under his belt looking for one last shot at Olympic glory (he came within one fight of qualifying for the 2004 Summer Games in Athens, Greece).
“He had great amateur credentials,” Spagnola said. “A lot of people were after him.”
Unfortunately for Wilson, he and Spagnola could not strike a deal, so after Wilson lost to Kimdo Bethel in the loser’s bracket finals, he signed with Tennessee-based manager Chris Rowland, who guided him to four wins – three by knockout – within the first three months of his professional career.
“All of a sudden, I couldn’t get in touch with [Rowland] for a few months,” Wilson said. “Then the stipends stopped coming. I’m thinking to myself, ‘What the hell is going on?’”
Turns out Rowland had problems of his own; he was indicted in November of 2009 on federal money-laundering charges, just one month after Wilson’s fourth bout, leaving the promising, young heavyweight without a manager (Rowland was later sentenced to 28 months in federal prison in 2011).
He and Spagnola reconnected shortly after Wilson’s fifth bout – a unanimous-decision win over Jae Bryce in Australia – and Spagnola worked quickly to pitch Wilson to a promoter who could bring his career to new heights.
“I told Jimmy, ‘Listen, this kid is worth working on,’” Spagnola said. “All he needed was an opportunity, and with the way this business has changed in this economy, everyone knows those opportunities are few and far in between.
“A guy like Jimmy, with the way he works, will get this kid the opportunity he deserves.”
Wilson’s long-term goal is to drop from heavyweight, where he fought his first five fights, to cruiserweight, where he’ll fight on the 24th, and eventually win a world title in that weight class before bulking back up to heavyweight. The decision to shed the weight stemmed from an inadvertent lifestyle change two years ago.
“When I first turned pro, I worked my ass off in the gym, but I liked to play hard, too,” Wilson said. “I liked to hang out with friends and drink a few beers. One night, I got arrested for [driving under the influence] and had to spend two weeks in jail.
“I’m sitting there with these people thinking, ‘This is where drinking got me. I’m done with it!’”
Once he stopped drinking, Wilson trimmed down to 200 pounds and soon realized he was a more natural fit at cruiserweight despite more than 15 years of experience in the heavyweight division.
“This is where I should’ve been all that time,” he said. “I was always a small heavyweight fighting bigger guys. Now I’m a big cruiserweight fighting smaller guys.”
Wilson hopes to draw from the experiences of Tomasz Adamek, Evander Holyfield and Marco Huck, who each won world titles as cruiserweights before making the leap to heavyweight – the most successful being Holyfield, who went on to become the Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion just two years after winning his last cruiserweight title.
“That’s logistically the easiest way to do it,” Wilson said. “The money’s not great at cruiserweight, but you can get a title shot, and then you’re already in the Top 10 when you move up to heavyweight.
“I followed Adamek and Huck when they went up, but their styles didn’t fit at heavyweight. Huck is more of a brawler – too small. Me, I’m more of a boxer. I like to box. I like to use my length and reach. Adamek, he has that fighter’s heart and mentality, but sometimes those heavyweights are too damn big to bang with.
“That won’t be a problem for me as long as I bring the weight with me. I plan on doing it the right way.”
Wilson has flown under the radar fighting out of Oregon – “There’s really no boxing in the northwest,” Spagnola said – but his amateur background is unrivaled by that of most fighters his age. A self-described “fat kid” growing up, he began boxing at 13 when he joined a newly-opened gym in Medford.
“Boxing had always interested me, and when this gym opened I tried getting a few of my friends to join with me, but none of them had the balls to do it,” Wilson said. “My mom got tired of me talking about it, so she brought me there one day without me knowing and told me, ‘Go inside and sign up.’
“She tricked me, but it worked.”
Boxing soon became an outlet for Wilson to travel the country, a luxury he couldn’t afford growing up since his family had little money. He soared to the top of the super heavyweight division within seven years, capturing the first of three consecutive U.S. National Amateur championships in 2004 (he was later stripped of his 2006 title after testing positive for marijuana, an incident Wilson said is, “in my rearview mirror now”). Later in ‘04, he narrowly missed qualifying for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team when he lost to Providence’s Jason Estrada in the finals.
“At first, I took a lot of things for granted and didn’t always want to train because I’d rather be hanging with my friends,” Wilson said, “but I eventually kind of just woke up and thought, ‘If I’m going to do something with this, I better start now.’”
Following a one-point loss to Michael Hunter, this year’s Olympic qualifier in the heavyweight division, in the 2007 National finals and his subsequent loss to Bethel in the ’08 Olympic trials, Wilson finally made his professional debut in August of 2009.
Through trials and tribulations – stemming from both bad luck and poor decision-making – Wilson has finally landed with the right manager and promoter. Coming soon to an arena near you, “Irish” Mike is ready to state his case as boxing’s best-kept secret.
“I firmly believe everything happens for a reason,” Wilson said. “Sometimes when you starve for so long, it makes you hungry. You’ve got to go through struggles to appreciate things. All I want is one opportunity, and it seems like it’s finally falling into my lap now. I’m going to make the most of it.”
The eight-round main event of “Up For Grabs” features Vladine Biosse (12-1-1, 6 KOs), dubbed “Mr. Providence” due to his strong following in Rhode Island’s capital city, defending his New England Super Middleweight Title against Providence’s Joey “K.O. Kid” Spina (26-2-2, 18 KOs). Unbeaten Burlington, Vt., super middleweight Kevin Cobbs (3-0, 1 KO) will face veteran Borngod Washington (3-10, 1 KO) of Queens, N.Y., in a four-round bout while unbeaten middleweight Thomas Falowo (6-0, 4 KOs) faces La Vista, Neb., native Sean Rawley Wilson (5-10, 1 KO) in a six-round bout.
Super lightweight Zack Ramsey, a former national amateur champion from Springfield, Mass., will make his long-awaited debut against Providence’s Alan Beeman (0-1), while fan-favorite Richard “Bobo The Bull” Starnino (9-7-2, 2 KOs) of Providence will now face Harwich, Mass., native Paul Gonsalves (3-2, 3 KOs) in a six-round light heavyweight bout.
“Up For Grabs” also features the return of former reality television star Richard Gingras (11-2, 7 KOs) of “The Contender,” who, after signing a promotional agreement with Classic Entertainment & Sports, will battle Terrance Smith Jr. (7-13-2, 4 KOs) of Oklahoma City in the six-round cruiserweight special attraction. Female bantamweight Shelito Vincent (2-0) of Providence will battle newcomer Carmen Cruz of Fort Myers, Fla., in a four-round bout.
Tickets for “Up For Grabs” are $35.00, $50.00, $75.00 and $125.00 (VIP) and can be purchased by calling CES at 401.724.2253/2254, online at www.cesboxing.com or www.twinriver.com, at the Players Club booth at Twin River, or through any TicketMaster location. Doors open 6 p.m. with the first bout scheduled for 7.
(Twin River has waived its 18+ rule for “Up For Grabs.” Anybody under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and must enter through the West entrance.)
EDWARDS AND SATCHELL READY FOR BIG AINTREE JUMP
Scouse rivals Paul Edwards and Kevin Satchell rivals have a big fence to clear at Aintree racecourse this Saturday (April 19) – each other! Their fight will now be for the vacant Commonwealth flyweight championship, which has been relinquished by Chris Edwards.
It is now the third major title fight topped by the vacant British and Commonwealth title clash between David Price (12-0) against Sam Sexton (15-2) at Aintree racecourse.
Former British champ Edwards (9-1) and Satchell (7-0) have put their friendship aside and promoter Frank Maloney is tipping a photo-finish.
Maloney said: “They are both every good young fighters and ambitious. It is a pick ‘em fight and so hard to pick a winner
“When they were matched against each other neither one of them needed to think about accepting the challenge.
“I believe they have sparred together often, but what you do on the night in that ring is all that counts.
“I hope that whoever wins will get a crack at Chris Edwards for the British because they will have earned that Lonsdale belt chance.”
In the chief support Ashley Theophane (31-4-1) defends his British light-welterweight crown against Liverpool’s Steve Williams (12-1).
In a special attraction classy Leeds boxer Adil Anwar (16-1) meets Dave Ryan (13-5) in a vacant English title and eliminator for Theophane’s crown.
Other fights include: John Donnelly (13-2) v Mike Robinson (5-4-3) (English super-flyweight title), Bob Ajisafe (9-2) v Travis Dickinson (12-0) English light-heavyweight crown.
Tickets are selling fast. The are some available priced at £95 (ringside), £75 (main floor) and £55 (floor) from www.frankmaloney.com/www.ticketmaster.com
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