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Arena Boxing: Gamboa, Solis, Lopez Win In Madison Square Garden

Legendary Madison Square Garden has seen a lot of great ring battles, but only very few debuts as impressive as the ones of Odlanier Solis and Yuriorkis Gamboa Saturday night at “Island Warriors: Latin Fury 12”, co-promoted by Top Rank, Arena and PR Best Boxing.

Heavyweight sensation Solis needed only two rounds to get rid off two-time world title challenger Monte Barrett while David Haye, Wladimir Klitschko and Nikolai Valuev all needed far more time to stop the durable and hard-hitting 38-year-old.

“This was a real statement by Solis”, said promoter Ahmet Öner. “Barrett is no tomato can but Solis made him look like one although he had only three days to adjust to the new opponent. Odlanier just walked through him like he will walk through every opponent who crosses his way.”

Solis knocked down Barrett for the first time with a stunning left hook one minute into round two. By 1:54 pf the frame, referee Wayne Kelly stopped the bout when Barrett went down after another furious attack by “La Sombra”.

“I was very well prepared and knew exactly what I had to do”, stated Solis after the fight. “I hadn’t expected to catch him this fast but I waited for my chance and took it when it came across.”

After this extraordinary performance in his first ever pay-per-view appearance, Solis, the reigning WBC international champion, will advance to a top spot in the WBC ratings.

“It is our goal to make Solis the mandatory challenger for Vitali Klitschko as soon as possible”, adds Ahmet Öner. “He showed tonight that he is the future of the heavyweight division. He has what it takes to become undisputed champion of the world.”

In the co-main event, Solis’ fellow Cuban 2004 Olympic gold medallist Yuriorkis Gamboa once more proved why he is one of the fastest rising stars in boxing. The reigning WBA featherweight champion defended his belt by stopping Whyber Garcia from Panama after 58 seconds in round four.

Regarding a possible showdown with WBO super bantam champion Juan Manuel Lopez next year, Gamboa said: “I want to prove that I am the best boxer in the world. So I will take on everybody who believes that he is better than me.”

Before taking on Gamboa, Lopez had a whole lot of difficulty outworking Rogers Mtagwa from Tanzania in the main event of “Island Warriors: Latin Fury 12” over 12 spectacular rounds.

Lopez and Mtagwa exchanged power punches for the whole distance in a true ring battle. Lopez clearly won the early rounds but ran out of gas towards the end of the fight.

Still, in the end, the WBO champion took home a deserved victory. Scores were 116-111, 115-111 and 114-113.

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