Solis Eclipse

Cuban boxers are revered for their technique and toughness, but surprisingly, there has never been a Cuban heavyweight champion. Mostly, that’s because Fidel Castro isn’t keen on his boxers competing professionally — he’d rather keep them fighting as amateurs well into their 30s to stockpile Olympic medals. But just as one day Fidel will be KO’d for good, so too will a Cuban boxer have his shot at the one of the most coveted titles in sports. And that day could come very soon as Odlanier Solis, an 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’s in his way is number-one-ranked heavyweight contender Ray Austin at American Airlines Arena (601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami) 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 the main event of Don King’s World Championship Boxing as part of a fight card that includes another Cuban defector, Angelo Santana; IBF Light Heavyweight Champ Tavoris Cloud; Colombian Fulgencio Zuniga; and Nicaraguan great Ricardo Mayorga. King, never one to shy away from a good story line, titled the fight night “A Tribute to Freedom.” Ah, King. Only in America. Tickets start at $37.80. And the fighting begins at 6 p.m. Call 800-754-3000, or visit
Fri., Dec. 17, 6 p.m., 2010

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Sebastian Del Mármol