Preview by Paul Upham: The IBF Pan Pacific super middleweight champion Anthony “The Man” Mundine (pictured) is promising to put on a boxing clinic when he faces former Commonwealth middleweight champion Sam “King” Soliman on Monday night at the Wollongong Entertainment Centre on the South Coast of New South Wales.
The 26 year-old Mundine has been fired up for this clash after Soliman labelled him as “Mundane” and claimed that his previous opponents were “hand picked old men.” Both boxers made the super-middleweight limit (168lbs) on Sunday night at the Hellenic Club in North Wollongong for the official weigh-in, although Mundine, 8-0 (7), had to return to the scales for a second time without his clothes after being marginally over on his first attempt.
Soliman, 12-6 (4), weighed in easily at 165.5lbs for a clash that he is very confident of winning. Make no mistake, Soliman has not returned home for a holiday. After campaigning in the UK for the last 18 months, he is determined to win to get his career back on track after recent close 12 round points losses to WBA No.1 Howard Eastman and IBO middleweight champion Raymond Joval.
Mundine’s original opponent Ramon Pedro Moyano, the son of legendary middleweight world champion Carlos Monzon, was not given clearance to box by the Argentinean Boxing Federation and Soliman was offered the fight on only two weeks notice.
Soliman has been publicly challenging Mundine since the beginning of this year and has finally got the fight that he wants to help lift him into the world rankings. The former Australian cruiserweight, super middleweight and middleweight champion has never been stopped in his career and at 27 is the youngest boxer that Mundine has ever faced.
Mundine’s lighting movement and hand speed has been the trademark of his early fights and anyone questioning the former rugby league super-star’s punching power only has to look at his third round destruction of New Zealand’s Timo Masua to be impressed.
On paper, Soliman is a better class of boxer than IBF No.15 Mundine has faced in his short career since leaving rugby league and starting as a pro in July 2000. He is a good solid boxer and will make “The Man” work for a full 12 rounds if it goes that far.
A capacity crowd of 6,500 is expected for a test that Mundine must pass convincingly if he is to challenge the undefeated German IBF champion Sven Ottke in the next twelve months as he has stated. The term “speed kills” comes to mind and Mundine has plenty to burn, which should allow him to win a comfortable points decision over a game Soliman.
Those closest to Mundine point to a burning competitive streak, which sees him bring out his absolute best when he is pushed by an opponent. Mundine’s demeanour this week indicates that Sam Soliman well and truly has his attention.