For the better part of a decade, Ulises Solis, 34-2-3 (21), has been a lynch pin of the light flyweight division, twice holding the IBF 108-pound crown. He first won it back in early 2006 against Will Grigsby at Madison Square Garden in New York and went on to make eight successful defences, beating the likes of Eric Ortiz (TKO 9), Jose Antonio Aguirre (TKO 9) and Rodel Mayol (TKO8) before being surprisingly unseated by a rejuvenated Brian Viloria in the spring of 2009. Not perturbed, the native of Guadalajara, Mexico knew he had another title run in him; though it took two years, he finally regained his championship. However, the 30-year-old had to endure two taxing trips to Argentina to achieve this, first drawing with Luis Lazarte (a fight many believed he won) before returning to beat Lazarte via split decision (again a fight many believed he won comfortably). Winning a title on the road is not an easy feat and it looked like “Archie” would settle into another long title reign only to be involved in an altercation reportedly with Saul Alvarez last October that left him with a broken jaw. That’s one fight that won’t be settled inside the ring; instead it’s now in the hands of the lawyers. Thankfully, Solis is now fully healed and ready for action and though a 23 June fight was aborted, a return is imminent.
Anson Wainwright - You return to action on 23 June in Hermosillo, Mexico. Who will you be facing and what are your thoughts on this fight?
Ulises Solis - Don’t know nothing about my next opponent; I thing that this is a second chance that boxing and life gave me. I been through a lot personally and professionally.
AW - You’ve been out of action since last August because of an incident involving Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Can you tell us about what happened? Your jaw was broken in the incident. How has that healed up? Did you get any other injuries?
US - That was a total cowardly act from Alvarez just after I ended my morning running. He alleges something regarding his ex-girlfriend- which is the mother of his daughter- a person that I not even know. That’s why he attacks me.
AW - You first won the IBF crown in 2006, defending it eight times before losing it to Brian Viloria in the Philippines. Could you tell us about your first reign as champion and what happened when you met Viloria?
US - That was a reign full of good things. Everybody must know that in those times, I fought with the best opponents but many people do not recognize that and, well, in Viloria’s fight, we made some mistakes. We flew to the Philippines just four days before the fight. That’s little time to get to another country because it’s 13 hours difference from Mexico’s, so I did not sleep well and I did not eat well also. I just wasn’t at 100%.
AW - You regained the title two years after losing it to Viloria when you beat Luis Lazarte in the rematch, having drawn with him the first time. Could you tell us what your experience was like fighting Lazarte? Of course since then, Johnriel Casimero has fought him and was involved in a riot.
US - It was something similar because we were about to get hit by the Argentinean fans, who everyone can see don’t accept a loss in their own country. The first time we’ve been there, they denied us meals; we had to pay for our own meals. They also put our team in a very uncomfortable hotel. The Lazarte fight was tough; our styles can’t match at all. You know, Lazarte’s style is difficult, not technical, and we drew but the referee didn’t help. [Lazarte] never stopped to fight and defend his title like a real boxer.
AW - Casimero is now the IBF interim champion and he told us, “I am ready for him anytime. I saw his fight with Lazarte twice and there is no doubt that I will beat him.” What is your response?
US - I’m really glad about it; I like to know that they’re confident in beating me. That motivates me to improve better things, to work harder because I’m pretty much quiet out of the ring but not up [in the ring]. I can’t wait for that fight. I want to show that “Archie” Solis is the best junior flyweight in the world.
AW - Could you tell us about your team?
US – Well, I really don’t have a trainer. I train myself at the gym; I have people to help me out. I learned so much from my mentor, Jesus Cholain Rivero, who I want to salute. He’s in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. For the physical part, I have Raul Robles, from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. I think I will be great physical and technical condition.
AW – Also, where do you regularly train? What other boxers train there? What is a typical day’s training for you?
US - At my gym, “Aurelio Solis,” we just opened recently, we’re just receiving kids and making amateur boxers. My routine at the moment, it’s just basic, running, bags, ropes, etc.
AW - What are your thoughts on the light flyweight division? What about the other champions, the WBC’s Kompayak Porpramook, the WBA’s Roman Gonzalez and the WBO’s Donnie Nietes?
US - The division is good and I think that I’m at the level of any of those [champions]. The bad thing is that this division isn’t well paid. I think that we bring great fights even over some of the other weight divisions.
AW - You were born, raised and still live in Guadalajara. Could you tell us about your younger days growing up there? Were things tough like they are for many Mexican families? Would you mind sharing how things were for you and your family?
US - I was born in a humble neighborhood; it’s called Talpita Barrio Bravo. There were seven men and four women [in our family]; we had to start working at a young age.
AW - Your brother, Jorge, is also a professional boxer. Could you tell us about the relationship you guys share? How’s he doing after losing to Yuriorkis Gamboa and Takashi Uchiyama last year?
US - My brother and I did not train in the same gym; he decided to part ways. The thing started when I lost the title in Philippines; after that, I wasn’t earning the same purses, then he got his title shot and automatically put me aside. The money changed him out; he turned greedy. Also, he never paid me for my services to help him out. When I was champ, he always was paid as trainer but not me [when I helped him].
AW - What goals do you still have in boxing? Move up to flyweight, unify? And do you have a message for the boxing world ahead of your return?
US - My primary goal is come back and show that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I want to show my greatness not only as a boxer but as a human being. I want to tell every boxing fan that idols become so not only in the ring but outside the ring, being humble, disciplined and educated.