Thompson, Solis set for rematch

On March 22, veteran heavyweight contender Tony Thompson pulled an upset when he outpointed Odlanier Solis by split decision in Turkey, the home country of Solis promoter Ahmet Oner, whose considerable juice there obviously didn't help his man get the nod on the scorecards.

Thompson (39-5, 26 KOs), 42, of Washington, D.C. -- who has twice been knocked out in challenging champion Wladimir Klitschko -- lost his next fight in France to Carlos Takam, who has emerged as a solid contender himself in the past year.

Solis, 34, the former Olympic gold medalist from Cuba who now lives in Miami, has not fought since the defeat but will face Thompson in a rematch in October, Oner announced this week.

"The contracts are signed, we're ready to go," Oner said. "Now Solis has to show what he's made of. I am sure that he can beat Thompson. But their first bout showed that he needs the right attitude and a lot of stamina to do so. This is the last chance for both men. It's do or die. After beating Solis, Thompson lost to Carlos Takam. Still, both men are rated in the WBC top 15, so the winner can move up the ratings and get in line for another world title shot. The loser should probably just retire."

Solis (20-2, 13 KOs) lost his only world title shot, blowing out his knee, which caused a first-round knockout loss to then-titlist Vitali Klitschko in 2011. After a lengthy layoff because of surgery, Solis won three fights in a row before the loss to Thompson.

The exact date is not set yet. Thompson adviser Mike Borao told ESPN.com that the contract states the fight will be Oct. 11, but it might shift to Oct. 26.

"Ahmet has been pretty easy to work with, so we're being flexible," Borao said. "One thing about Tony, he accepts everything without complaint."

Thompson, who twice knocked out David Price in upsets in 2013 but then lost a decision to Kubrat Pulev with a mandatory shot at Klitschko at stake in August 2013, is looking forward to the rematch.

"Solis is a gold medalist with a great record, so I am not looking past him," Thompson said. "I beat him once and I'll do it again, only this time I am knocking him out. Nothing is going to stop me from my mission of winning a world title."