Undefeated Tavoris Cloud retained his International Boxing Federation light heavyweight title on Friday with a 12-round unanimous decision over Colombia’s Fulgencio Zuniga.
America’s Cloud improved to 22-0 with 18 victories inside the distance as he made his second defense of the title.
On the same card, undefeated Odlanier Solis won a heavyweight title eliminator when Ray Austin was disqualified with a second remaining in the 10th round after a clinch that nearly sent Solis over the ropes.
Solis, a 2004 Olympic champion from Cuba, improved to 17-0 and earned a title shot against World Boxing Council champion Vitali Klitschko.
“He is accurate and has good defense,” Austin said. “He rests and recovers, well, too. The only downside for him could be his chin. I see him being the next champion. He is good.”
The Cuban dominated with his speed and punishing combinations, pushing Austin back for most of the bout.
Solis landed a series of combinations to Austin’s head in the 10th that had Austin appearing out on his feet and after another big right from Solis, Austin clinched. Austin pushed Solis into the ropes and they almost fell over.
Solis had sent Austin to the canvas in the fifth with a left to the head.
While Solis appeared to dominate, one judge had the fight 85-85, another scored it 88-82 for Solis and the third 86-84 for Austin through the first nine rounds.
“What’s the worst that could have happened — I could have knocked him out or make him look ridiculous,” Solis said. “I made him look ridiculous.”
Cloud’s victory was a more straightforward affair. He controlled the pace against Zuniga, using a stinging jab as well as big right crosses and left hooks.
He couldn’t stop the tough Colombian, but won on all three judges’ scorecards: 117-108, 118-108 and 116-109.
Zuniga fell to 24-5-1.
“I know I had better skills, but he obviously came into this fight in good shape,” Cloud said. “I only give myself a ‘B’ performance. I will tell you, I took this man seriously because I knew he was going to come to fight.”
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