Q & A With Sam Soliman

03.11.06 - By Tony Nobbs: In the latest WBA rankings “Triple A Man” Sam Soliman (photo by Wray Edwards / ESB) was listed at number three in super middleweight division. Soliman, who has a November 17 ShoBox date with Mexican Enrique Onealas at the Soboba Casino in San Jacinto, California, has had no luck calling out World Middleweight Champion Jermain Taylor.

In the meantime, Soliman was granted a WBA rating at 168 pounds, thus helping him target a return with Anthony Mundine who won a split decision over Sam in 2001. Mundine went on to win the WBA regular belt out pointing Antwun Echols in 2003 before losing it to Manny Siaca the following year. Mundine, who fights Argentine Ruben Acosta on November 15 took the 'BA number one spot with a twelve round UD over Danny Green in May and is in prime position to again fight off for the regular belt (number two is Jeff Lacy), after Mikkel Kessler assumed “Super Champion” status by knocking out WBC counterpart Markus Beyer on October 14.

Soliman's manager Stuart Duncan has been in negotiations with Mundine's camp and is very confident the fight will come off, possibly for the vacant title, in 2007.

Sam, who has held Australian championships from middleweight to cruiserweight spoke to Eastside before he was due to fly out to the US on Friday and here is what he had to say.

Eastside Boxing: Firstly Sam, you have been chasing a fight with Jermain Taylor but you are now moving up in weight. Why?

Sam Soliman: That was my dream fight – Jermain Taylor for the Middleweight Championship Of The World! We chased him but he doesn't want to fight me. He's now fighting other guys so I'm moving on. I can't wait around for Jermain Taylor. Maybe it's good he didn't take the fight. I might now get the chance to avenge my loss to Anthony and win a world title. I try and look at the positives.

ESB: How confident are you of the Mundine fight happening?

SS: It's all looking good, it's not guaranteed, but we have got a number three ranking with the WBA. To finally get a crack, it's always been my dream fight for a world title.

ESB: How do you feel about moving up in weight to get a shot?

SS: I feel comfortable. I've fought at that weight. I've fought cruiserweights. It might get me more fights. I might not get ducked so much. Normally when fighters move up in weight, they lose something, so guys might be prepared to fight me.

ESB: If the title fight with Mundine happens and you win, you will then be mandatory for “Super Champion” Mikkel Kessler...

SS: That's providing the fight happens. I first have to worry about a 6'1 Mexican. I'm focusing on Ornealas at the moment in my training. But the plan is, cornering Mundine now that I am targeting super middleweight. If we fight and I become world champion, then yeah, who ever. To be the best and become Super Champion, I don't care who I fight. Anyone. Anywhere. Anytime. I will go in confident.

ESB: Tell us about your first fight with Mundine.

SS: I took it on a weeks notice and I finished stronger than him. It was very close. This time I have to make it so it's not (close).

ESB: What do you think of Mundine as a fighter now?

SS: He has always been good, he has always had talent. He has got better. Really, he has been the reason why boxing in Australia has kicked, he deserves credit for what he has achieved. It don't matter whether people like him or not for what he says, they still pay to watch. He has got people back in to boxing and you have to give him credit.

ESB: Tell us about your fight with Winky Wright.

SS: It was a great fight for the fans. They got in to it. I trained so hard for that fight. I worked so hard in the gym. But I tried a new diet and it back fired on me, I usually enter the ring at 168 pounds but I ended up weighing lighter than I did at the weigh in. I ate the same food I did in training when I was making weight, just more of it. It didn't work. Still, I pushed Winky all the way so it's very pleasing to know I can mix it with the best pound for pound in the world. I can tell you, it was a great feeling hearing the crowd chant “Winky, Winky” when he entered the ring, then chant “Sammy, Sammy” when I left the ring!

ESB: What do you think of the decision?

SS: If it was in Australia, I get the decision. If it's in America, he gets it. That's how it is. It was close. I'm not looking back.

ESB: Tell us about your next fight, with Enrique Ornealas.

SS: He is a tough Mexican, 25 and 2, I have to take him seriously. If I don't take a 26 year old six foot one Mexican seriously I could very easily find myself in a lot of bother. (Laughing) Actually, I'm cooking Mexican now for lunch, I plan to eat Mexican on November 17.

ESB: You recently traveled to Chicago with Paul Briggs as a sparing partner for his WBC light heavyweight title bout with Tomasz Adamek. Tell us about that.

SS: It was great sparring, perfect work for me. To keep me at my best, to work in there with a big strong light heavyweight.

ESB: You have traveled the world as a sparring partner, working with the best for several years. Who has provided you with your best sparring?

SS: I would say a guy that is not well known, that hasn't got the name or the recognition yet that he probably deserves - Rudy Markussen is the hardest sparring I have had. He is the only guy that I can say has out boxed me. He doesn't seem to show it when he fights, for whatever reason, but I must say he has a lot of skill. Some days I'd get over him, other days he'd get over me. That is why I'd always fly to Denmark to work with him.

ESB: Finally Sam, you are now 32. How long do you think you fight for?

SS: I've got another four years. I haven't been punched too much. I'm always in shape, I look after myself, I can go for a while. I'm a bit like Bernard Hopkins, I promised my wife when I'll retire. Bernard promised his mother when he'd retire.

Article posted on 03.11.2006

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