By Paul Upham: Former Commonwealth middleweight champion Sam Soliman, 12-6 (4), arrived in Sydney from the UK on Wednesday morning in preparation for his clash with fellow Australian, Anthony “The Man” Mundine, 8-0 (7), on Monday night at the Wollongong Entertainment Centre on the South Coast of NSW.
“I’ve had so many championship fights, it’s like a home in the ring you know. The publicity I’m getting is bigger than any fight I’ve ever had so it makes it more exciting,” said Soliman.
“I’ve fought Howard Eastman, Raymond Joval, Neville Brown and Cornelius Carr and they are big champions in England, over the space of 18 months. You can’t beat experience, you can’t buy experience and you can’t get taught experience, it just has to happen. I made the move to the UK and now it is all paying off.”
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’ll be up in a bigger league, without trying to big note myself. He will be up in a bigger league because of the fact that he has got me at short notice, not expecting to have fought me. Now he has got me because I am the only guy who would fly down and take a fight on 10 days short notice like this,” said Soliman. (Mundine’s original opponent Ramon Pedro Moyano, the son of legendary middleweight world champion Carlos Monzon, was not given clearance to box by the Argentine Boxing Federation).
“Little does he know that it has got absolutely nothing to do with my performance because I am always keeping fit. I have a week off after a fight and do nothing. I go out and party and then I am straight back in the gym whether I have got a fight coming up or not,” said Soliman
“I have been sparring Stevie Roberts the WBF champion, who is 24-0, every day for the last two weeks since I got told about the fight. The result will have nothing to do with short notice because I am always keeping fit.”
Soliman has been publicly challenging Mundine the IBF Pan Pacific super-middleweight champion since the beginning of this year and has finally got the fight that he wants to help lift him into the world rankings.
“Not only wanting this for a while, but it is the shot that can help put me in the Top 10. What makes this exciting for both me and Anthony, is that we are both very hungry and both going for something that will put us in the Top 10 and we both want a world championship shot,” said Soliman.
“One of us is going to get it and it is not going to be him,” he added.
After seeing the opponents that 26-year-old Mundine was facing, Soliman labelled “The Man” as “Mundane” and sent him a photo of him wearing the slogan on a t-shirt to help secure the bout.
“If I saw a t-shirt saying Sam Soliman is mundane, I’d be jumping the river to get him,” said Soliman. “People want to see a challenge. They don’t want to see a challenge from a guy who is 38 years old and you can pick him off all night. That’s where the name ‘Mundane” came out.”
“They have all been well chosen opponents for him, but he does fight better than a boxer who has had four or five fights. All credit to my manager Pat Healy for pushing with SecondsOut.com to help get me this fight. If it wasn’t for him and SecondsOut.com I would not have got the fight.”
Originally from Melbourne, Victoria, Soliman has previously fought in Wollongong once before when he defeated Bradley Mayo on points over 12 rounds in July 1999.
The former Australian cruiserweight, super-middleweight and middleweight champion credits the support he receives from his family, which puts him in the right mindset to win when he enters the ring.
“I’m 27 years old and I’m peaking. This is for my family and my friends. I always wanted a world title and I went to England to get one. It’s ironic that I’ve ended up coming back to Australia to win a big fight to get me to a world title,” said Soliman.
“My parents were rapt that I was coming home. They have so much faith in me. My parents are unbelievable. They have so much faith in me, it makes me fight like I do.”