Cuban boxers are revered for their technique and toughness, but surprisingly, there has never been a Cuban heavyweight champion. Fidel Castro isnt keen on allowing his boxers to compete professionally; Hed rather keep them fighting as amateurs well into their 30s to stockpile Olympic medals. But just as one day Fidel will be KOd for good, so too will a Cuban boxer have his shot at one of the most coveted titles in sport. That day could come very soon for Odlanier Solis. The Olympic gold medal-winning heavyweight, who defected from the communist nation in 2006, is primed to get a shot at current champ Vitali Klitschko. All that stands in his way is a bout with number-one-ranked heavyweight contender Ray Austin at American Airlines Arena on Friday. Austin is a journeyman of sorts, but as boxing enthusiasts know, every fighter has his day (see: Buster Douglas). Solis and Austin will battle it out in in the main event of Don Kings World Championship Boxingas part of a fight card that includes another Cuban defector, Angelo Santana; International Boxing Federation light-heavyweight champ Tavoris Cloud; Colombian Fulgencio Zuniga; and Nicaraguan great Ricardo Mayorga. King, never one to shy away from a good storyline, has titled the fight night A Tribute to Freedom. Ah, King, only in America.
Fri., Dec. 17, 6 p.m., 2010