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Can Heavyweight Nkosi Solomon Recover From His Disastrous Pro Debut?

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  • Can Heavyweight Nkosi Solomon Recover From His Disastrous Pro Debut?

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    By Arne K. Lang

    The most head-scratching upset of 2018 caused hardly a ripple. On Oct. 6, at Chicago’s Wintrust Arena, Nkosi Solomon fell to pieces in his pro debut, losing a lopsided decision to Matt Cameron. Solomon was knocked down twice in the sloppy 4-round fight and had two points deducted for holding.

    True, Nkosi Solomon was a rank novice, but he wasn’t supposed to be this rank. A two-time New York City Golden Gloves champion and Olympic Trials finalist, Solomon was once ranked the top super-heavyweight in the U.S. amateur system. He was one of the first two U.S. amateur fighters signed by British uber-promoter Eddie Hearn who promoted the Oct. 6 card. It figured that Hearn would feed Solomon a soft touch to get his pro career off on the right foot and Matt Cameron, a 34-year-old Gulf War veteran with a 2-1-1 record seemingly fit the bill.

    Solomon, 24, was raised in the projects of the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. Over the years, Brownsville has been a fertile pod of fistic talent. Solomon, who was actually born in Guyana, was groomed to follow in the footsteps of Brownsville “alumni” Mike Tyson and Riddick Bowe.

    Tonight (Jan. 18), Solomon will have an opportunity to restore Eddie Hearn’s faith in him when he takes on Munroe, Georgia butterball Rodriguez Cade (also known as Cade Rodriguez) on Hearn’s DAZN show at Madison Square Garden. And if the young man needs encouragement, he can take solace in the fact that several of the greatest fighters in history lost their first pro fight. A partial list includes legends Terry McGovern, Benny Leonard, and Henry Armstrong plus the amazing Bernard Hopkins. Moreover, two fighters who went on to win a piece of the world heavyweight title, Mike Weaver and James “Bonecrusher” Smith, were knocked out in their pro debut.

    Solomon’s fight is buried deep on the undercard of a nine-fight card. The main go sees Demetrius Andrade (26-0, 16 KOs) defending his newly won WBO world middleweight title against Russia’s Artur Akavov (19-2, 8 KOs) who is getting his second crack at this belt after losing a unanimous decision to Billy Joe Saunders in 2016. Andrade hasn’t looked particularly sharp lately and we don’t anticipate a lot of fireworks in this battle of southpaws.

    In the co-feature, TJ Doheny (20-0, 14 KOs), an Australian born in Ireland, defends his IBF 122-pound title against Japan’s Ryohei Takahashi (16-3-1). Former champions Jorge Linares and Chris Algieri are also on the card.

    Re-visit this site later to keep abreast of the action and tune back in tomorrow for Thomas Hauser’s ringside report.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel