In one of the most beautiful parts of the Europe, one of the super welterweight’s toughest contenders returns to action this weekend, as Michel Soro faces Hector David Saldivia in Alpes-Maritimes, France. It will be Soro’s first fight in over a year.
Soro is a native of Cote D’Ivoire, a West African nation with a French colonial history. And his professional career has been based out of France. He’s the best pound-for-pound fighter based out of the country.
He’s also one of the better fighters in the world at 154 pounds and competitive against most contenders at full middleweight. Two years ago, he fought to a majority draw against Antoine Douglas, a blue-chip middleweight prospect. One of the three judges scored in his favor, 96-94, with the other two ruling it even.
In May 2015, he knocked out rugged Glen Tapia in four rounds. Soro’s only loss came by unanimous decision in a world title challenge in 2012, against Zaurbek Baysangurov. Soro acquitted himself well in that fight and even knocked Baysangurov down in Round 2, but it was probably too big of a challenge, too soon in his career. Baysangurov was an outstanding amateur fighter for his native Ukraine, and a much more experienced professional than Soro was at the time.
Saldivia is a good opponent for Soro to come back against after a year break. He’s a veteran of the rugged Argentine boxing scene, where he has thrown together a record of 45-3, with 35 KOs. Fighting Soro represents a huge opportunity for him to finally make an international splash.
Saldivia got stopped in three rounds when he travelled to England to fight welterweight champion Kell Brook in October 2012. That was Saldivia’s last loss.
Saldivia picked up the best two wins of his career last year, when he beat fellow Argentine Sebastian Lujan in back-to-back fights. Lujan is a tough-as-nails former fringe contender, but pretty much a shot fighter at this point. His two losses against Saldivia came in the midst of a four-fight losing streak. He’s 5-7 in his last 12.
For hardcore fans, Soro vs. Saldivia is definitely a fight worth paying attention to. If he comes back with a strong performance against a tough opponent, it will signal yet another major player in the loaded 154-pound division.