By Wayne Bartlett: Sam Soliman further disproved the school of thought that you need a knockout to earn a draw when boxing away in Germany, after defeating Felix Sturm in an upset in Dusseldorf this Friday.
Soliman replicated his countryman Daniel Geale’s feat last year and went one better than his split win, by earning a unanimous victory over Sturm in front of the German’s adoring crowd with scorecards of 116-111 and 114-113 twice.
Maybe the judges just like Australian’s, or more truly middleweight Soliman was well worth his win after overcoming an early deficit in the opening rounds, including being decked in round two, to out work and outpunch the home fighter throughout the middle rounds and right down the stretch.
I can remember watching Soliman box at a leisure centre in Tottenham, North London, years ago, and while Dusseldorf’s ISS Dome may be just a little bit different, Soliman is as slippery and as unorthodox a style of fighter as he was then.
Reflexes dulled of course, but his flat-footed, hands low approach saw him fire volley after volley in-between moving off to the side of his now 37-4-2(16) foe and out of danger, although the hands-high Sturm was still dangerous when looping a hook over as the Melbourne man moved away.
Despite the fact Soliman, now 43-11(17) and unbeaten since 2008, appeared to have done enough at the fight conclusion you are still never quite sure what will be read out as the ring announcer readies himself to announce the verdict in Germany, and we were treated to a different kind of surprise last night.
This time, the normally perfect Michael Buffer made a slip as he announced 34-year-old Sturm as the winner to the delight of the German crowd, and bizarrely the acceptance of Soliman, before quickly correcting himself to announce the Australian as the victor.
Cue then the boo’s and the 39-year-old Soliman being hoisted on his team’s shoulders. And surely cue a clash with fellow Aussie and WBA middleweight champion Geale.
Soliman deserves it.