America heavyweight veteran Tony Thompson kept his career alive with a narrow but deserved split-decision victory over Odlanier Solis on Saturday in Tekirdag, Turkey, the home territory of Solis' promoter. Thompson, who won by scores of 115-113, 115-114, 112-116, outworked Solis over 12 pedestrian rounds.
Thompson (39-4, 26 knockouts), a 42-year-old former title challenger from Maryland, was coming off a decision loss to top contender Kubrat Pulev last August after scoring back-to-back stoppages of British prospect David Price. The southpaw technician has lost two title bouts against RING champ Wladimir Klitschko.
Solis (20-2, 13 KOs), a 33-year-old former Cuban amateur standout, had won three bouts in a row following his first-round debacle against then-WBC titleholder Vitali Klitschko in 2011. Klitschko earned a TKO victory after a clearly overwewight Solis suffered a knee injury after being dropped and could not continue.
The talented Cuban boxed well in the opening rounds against Thompson, beating the American to the punch with quick pot shots but he allowed the taller, rangier man to walk him down in the middle rounds. Thompson threw mostly arm punches whenever he was in range of the laterally moving Cuban but that was a lot more than Solis, who seemed content to cover up most of the time and occasionally counter punch.
Solis picked up his activity a little bit in the late rounds by marching foward behind hard single shots but his semi-rally was not enough to win the bout on two of the official scorecards or in the opinion of most fans watching the bout.