By Ray Wheatley — World of Boxing
Fightnews talks to Sam Soliman trainer Dave Hedgecock, who says he’s confident that Soliman will stop stop former WBA middleweight champion Felix Sturm on February 1st in Germany and that the veteran Aussie 160 pounder is boxing at his best at 39 years of age.
Fightnews: How is Sam training for February 1st showdown in Germany against Felix Sturm?
Hedgecock: Sam is training exceptionally well. We have been together for 25 years and this is the best I have seen him. He is very focused and knows he has only a few more fights left in him. You would not think he is 39 years of age the way he has been performing. We have excellent sparring partners who are physically similar to Sturm and also box very similar.
Fightnews: Have you had a good look at Sturm? What is the key to defeating Sturm?
Hedgecock: Sam has to move and hold his hands high. We will outwork Sturm and slowly chop him down. Sam will stop Sturm in my opinion. Sam had Giovanni Lorenzo in trouble several times in their fight in 2012. It’s obvious Soliman is hurting his opponents as he is punching with more power. Sam surprised Lorenzo and a lot of people with his power left and right hand punching. That is something we have worked on.
Fightnews: what do you see as Sturm’s best skills?
Hedgecock: Sturm is very experienced at the top level with 14 WBA title fights to his credit. His jab is his most effective punch.
Fightnews: What are your thoughts on Sam’s most recent wins over world class middleweights – Eromosele Albert, Garth Wood and Giovanni Lorenzo?
Hedgecock: Yes I believe Sam is boxing at his very best at 39 years. The wins over world middleweight contenders Eromosele Albert, Garth Wood and Giovanni Lorenzo show Sam deserves to be rated among the elite middleweights. He is boxing smarter. He is more economical and disciplined. I have never seen him more focused.
Fightnews: You and Sam depart Australia on Tuesday for London where you will train and then travel to Dusseldorf Germany for the February 1st IBF title fight. Will you be sparring in London?
Hedgecock: We arrive on January 16 in London and we will have a few days off training before starting our gym work. There is about 8 or 9 days in London where we will train at the All Stars Gym. If we can find suitable sparring partners we will complete our sparring in London before leaving for Germany. We believe in quality sparring. We had had a good look at Sturm. Sam can defeat him. Anyone who fights Sam knows they have been in a fight. He also has a chin like granite. It is exciting times for Australian middleweights, with Mundine vs Geale and Soliman’s fight with Sturm.
Fightnews: Who wins the Geale vs. Mundine?
Hedgecock: It all depends on which Anthony Mundine turns up on fight night. He is very skillful and can punch but I believe Daniel Geale will have too much of everything and defeat Mundine.