Jermain Taylor beats Sam Soliman to claim IBF middleweight title
by Samuel Constantinou-Coulter
Last night IBF middleweight champion Sam Soliman showed the heart of a champion in a brave but ultimately losing effort to Jermain Taylor.
Soliman - aged 40 from Australia - won the IBF title in his last fight against Felix Sturm away in Germany and fulfilled his dream of becoming world champion.
He headed into this fight with Taylor with a record of 44 wins and 17 losses, showing the determination and self-belief that has taken him to the top. To have 17 losses on your record and to have still ended up as a world champion shows a true sense of grit and character.
Taylor - aged 36 - is a former star of the sport with victories over the likes of Jeff Lacy, Bernard Hopkins and William Joppy. He has been in with the likes of Kelly Pavlik, Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham.
Taylor was forced to take time out of the ring following his knockout defeat to Abraham back in 2009 after suffering a brain bleed. It was a bad knockout and many felt that would be it for Taylor.
Taylor made his return in 2011 and had won his last four contests coming into the fight with Soliman. Many felt that Taylor hadn’t earned his shot at a world title and that he had gained the shot due to his adviser Al Haymon and his past achievements in the sport.
The fight started in scrappy fashion with both men holding up close and failing to land clean shots regularly. Taylor was neglecting to use his jab enough and Soliman’s unorthodox style was making for a tough night's work for the challenger.
Taylor had some good success in the sixth round, landing some right hands but the fight was to really take a change when Soliman clearly injured his right leg.
Soliman clearly hampered
Soliman was unsteady on his feet and limped around the ring determined to fight on and try and defend his hard earned world title. He had lost his mobility and as a result lost his awkward style and was forced to the canvas in the seventh, eighth, ninth and eleventh rounds.
Not many boxers out there would have carried on fighting and that is testament to what a warrior Soliman really is. He was effectively a one-legged fighter but he refused to give in as so many would have done.
Taylor clear winner
Taylor was declared the winner on the scores of 116-111, 115-109 and 116-109 and has claimed an impressive return to the sport which many felt he would never be able to achieve. It is Soliman that has come out of the fight with an enhanced reputation, however.
Taylor is currently on bail after allegedly shooting his cousin during an altercation in August so we will have to wait and see what develops on that front.
Taylor spoke of Soliman after the bout, saying: "He's a warrior. He did the same thing I would have. He kept fighting."
Soliman showed real class in the post-fight interview, saying" "It wasn't an injury that came back because of bad luck. It was because of Jermain.
"If he wasn't as good a fighter as he was, he wouldn't have come up with the goods.”
There is a new middleweight champion and that will be of major interest to our British fighters such as Martin Murray, Mathew Macklin, Andy Lee, Billy Joe Saunders and Chris Eubank Jr.
Jermain Taylor determined to regain world middleweight title
Jermain Taylor has vowed to “beat the hell” out of Sam Soliman when he faces the IBF middleweight champion in Biloxi, Mississippi on Wednesday.
Former undisputed champion Taylor has to roll back the years and win a world title again after he held all four belts following victory over Bernard Hopkins in 2005.
The American quit the ring in 2009 for two years after losing four out of five bouts at super middleweight in a two-year span.
However, Taylor returned to the ring in late 2011 and is 4-0 in his comeback, his most recent triumph a seventh-round stoppage of Colombian Juan Carlos Candelo last December.
"Things have come full circle for me. I have another shot to become a world champion and I'm not going to let this opportunity pass by without being victorious," said Taylor.
"I've made a bunch of mistakes in boxing, losing to fighters I shouldn't have because of a lack of training, but I'm ready to clear all that.
"Sam Soliman is a great fighter. He has had a great career and he comes to fight, but I have to go in there and beat the hell out of him."
Soliman, who turns 41 next month, won the IBF belt with a unanimous decision over Felix Sturm last May before his rival’s home fans in Germany.
"It has taken me 20 hard years to get to where I am," said Soliman. "Being a world champion is a special feeling and one I plan on keeping. This is my first title defence and I'm leaving no stone unturned to make sure it's not my last.
The Melbourne fighter had defeated Sturm in 2013 but that verdict was changed to no contest after Soliman tested positive for the banned stimulant methylsnephrine, leading to a nine-month ban for the Aussie.
Soliman, 44-11 with 18 knockouts, has rattled off nine straight victories since losing to then-WBA super middleweight champion and fellow Aussie Anthony Mundine in 2008.
"I'm going to be stepping into the ring against a former world middleweight champion and super middleweight contender who is chasing a comeback dream," added Soliman.
"Jermain Taylor has nothing to lose and that makes him a very dangerous opponent.
"I know how dangerous that mindset is. It's the same 'all or nothing' approach that I've taken into my last 10 fights to win the title. I'm bringing the same intensity to this fight."
Injured Sam Soliman beaten in middleweight title fight by Jermain Taylor
GRANTLEE KIEZA From: The Courier-Mail
AUSTRALIA’S Sam Soliman has lost his IBF world middleweight title to comeback American Jermain Taylor in Mississippi.
Soliman was all heart in fighting for six rounds with a leg injury that would have stopped most fighters.
Taylor took the title, winning all three judges’ votes: 116-111, 115-109 and 116.
-109 but only after Soliman had dominated the first half of the fight.
Soliman turns 41 next month but this was his first loss in six years.
Taylor, 36, was a controversial choice as an opponent since the fight was first mooted. He hadn’t made the middleweight limit of 72.5kg since 2007 and returned to boxing in 2011 after a brain bleed in 2009.
He is also on bail for allegedly shooting his cousin five times.
The first time I saw Soliman in the flesh he beat Anthony Mundine at the Wollongong Entertainment Centre, six rounds to four with two even on my scorecard. But Mundine got a gift decision. Soliman had taken the fight on five days notice and a 24-hour flight from London and could have carried on like a good sort.
It took a fireworks display to drown out the crowd’s jeering.
Instead, Soliman just gave a rueful home town-decision smile.
Mundine beat him twice subsequently but both times at the heavier 76kg division where Soliman was outgunned.
I liked the way Soliman conducted himself the first time I saw him fight and I liked him even more when a few minutes before he was due to enter the ring against Raymond Joval in Temecula, California he was more worried about young kids risking sunburn outside the arena than he was facing the fight of his life on US television. Soliman went outside and ushered all the youngsters into the shade just as he was being summoned into the ring.
In 35 years of covering boxing I’ve never seen a more mesmerising display of the Sweet Science as this international man of mystery displayed that day at the Pechanga Casino in southern California. For 12 rounds he practised his art of hit and not be hit, bamboozling and befuddling the No. 2-ranked middleweight in the world for a comprehensive decision.
Before today’s loss, Soliman had won 10 times since Anthony Mundine outpointed him in 2008 when the Melbourne fighter was boxing in the heavier 76kg super-middleweight division and was simply outmuscled by the bigger man.
Among his recent victories are world class scrappers Felix Sturm, Giovanni Lorenzo, Eromosele Albert, the Gold Coast’s Les Sherrington and Sydney’s Garth Wood, who holds a crushing KO of Mundine.
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