Heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschk,right, says he will beat Cuban challenger Odlanier Solis,left, within 12 rounds on Saturday.

Cologne – Heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko predicted Monday he would beat Cuban challenger Odlanier Solis within 12 rounds on Saturday.

World Boxing Council (WBC) champion Klitschko described Solis as “one of the hardest opponents of my career” but said the Cuban would not last the distance at the Lanxess Arena, Cologne.

“I can fight 12 rounds at a high tempo but the fight won't last 12 rounds,” the Ukrainian said.

Almost all 19,000 tickets have been sold for the fight in which 39-year-old Klitschko is aiming for his 42nd victory in 44 fights including 14 world title bouts.

Solis, 2004 Olympic gold medallist and three-time amateur world champion, has won all his 14 professional fights.

Klitschko said he admired the Cuban school of boxing but added:

“There are good amateurs from Cuba but it's different in the professional game.”

Solis, 30, who defected from the national Cuban boxing team in December 2006 and now fights out of Hamburg, Germany, said he would “win in the 12th round, perhaps earlier.”

Klitschko's younger brother, Wladimir, the IBF and WBO champion, has been lined up to fight WBA champion David Haye on June 25 or July 2. – Sapa-dpa