By Ray Wheatley–World of Boxing
World middleweight contender Sam Soliman has punched it out with the best super middleweights and middleweights in the world including Winky Wright, Sakio Bika, Anthony Mundine, Robert Joval and Enrique Ornelas. Sam talks to Fightnews and says he was disappointed that the bout against Australian middleweight champion Junior Talipeau has fallen through, how he beat Mundine twice at 168 pounds and would beat him easy at 160 pounds, and how he now focuses on an IBF middleweight challenge against Sebastian Sylvester.
You were matched to fight Australian middleweight champion Junior Talipeau next Friday. That fight fell through. What was the problem?
After watching Contender Australia and seeing Talipeau fight, I said to myself ‘this guy has potential to be champ.’ A challenge was put to him by my team for Dec 11 and he accepted. When he accepted, this proved that I was right about the man being a true fighter and not ducking the challenge we put to him. These days there are boxers out there who will pick and choose carefully who they fight in order to have easy wins. Two weeks later Talipeau pulled out of the fight that was scheduled for both of us to go toe-to-toe on Dec 11 for both my IBO and IBF regional titles and also his opportunity to be World top 15 in the IBF and IBO if he defeated me. This left me with no scheduled bouts until next year. I suppose I was wrong about the bloke. Not sure why he’d blow that opportunity but I suppose he has his reasons.
Were you confident of victory over Talipeau?
Yes, I would be confident of fighting any fighter in the world at middleweight. Of my 48 bouts, 29 of them have been at my preferred middleweight division with 26 wins, 3 losses, the rest of my fights were out of my weight class due to not being able to find opponents willing to fight me, so I took impatient risks that brought me undone for many fights.
You are currently rated IBF #14. Other Australians rated are Anthony Mundine IBF #4 and Daniel Geale IBF #8. You have clashed with Mundine three times at super middleweight. Two fights were disputed decisions. Mundine has shown he is not as strong at middleweight. Would you be confident at middleweight ?
I gave it to him at super middleweight twice, can you imagine what I’d do to Mundine at my middleweight division. In fairness to him though, the bouts we had were for his championship title so I had to fight him at his weight-class to make that fight happen.
IBF champion Sebastian Sylvester won the title by defeating Giovanni Lorenzo. Have you seen that fight? Would you be interested in an optional shot at the championship?
This fight is at the top of my list and if I get it I will do what I did to every other opponent I’ve fought at middleweight. His style is walk up and forward punching and all I’d have him walking into all night is my straight right hands.
You were selected several years ago to fight Kingsley Ikeke for the title. You boxed Winky Wright instead losing a disputed decision in a bout that you connected with most punches. Arthur Abraham took your place against Ikeke winning the championship and established himself one of the all time great middleweight champions. Do you regret you did not fight Ikeke. Your thoughts?
In some ways yes, I would be world champion today if that move to fight for the IBF world title was made by my manager, who was Stuart Duncan at the time. Stu gave me an option to fight for the IBF world title V’s Ikeke, or the option to take on Winky Wright who had just beaten two of my pound-for-pound favorites: Shane Mosley and Trinidad. Stu said he wanted to secure my future and that it would be wise to take the fight with Ikeke and win the IBF title, but I wanted to beat the best of the best in Winky Ronald Wright and secure top spot in both my IBF ranking and Wrights WBC no. 1 spot. My managers choice would’ve been the better one to take. I won’t make the same mistake twice, Sebastian Sylvester, I’m coming after you!