Renowned former kickboxing champion Sam Soliman, whose 15 year boxing career has not yet earned him a major world championship belt, moved a step closer to a shot at the IBF Middleweight title by decisioning fellow Australian and middleweight contender Garth Wood on Sunday, February 19, 2012, at Olympic Park Sports Centre in New South Wales, Australia, for the interim IBF Pan Pacific Middleweight title.
Soliman, 38, now 41-11, 14 kayos, Melbourne, Australia, has won six fights in a row since 2008, against opponents with winning records and a combined 86 wins between them. With exception of his first eleven contests, Soliman has fought his career between 157 and 167 pounds.
His early fights were fought between 153 and 174 pounds, including fighting for the Australian cruiserweight, Australian light middleweight, and then the Australian cruiserweight championship again in back-to-back bouts.
Scoring was 117-114, 118-109, and 119-109 for Soliman, who knocked down Wood in the final round to seal the win.
Soliman came forward with pressure and landed accurate jabs all night. Wood tried single right hand leads and power shots. The bout probably was closer to wrestling or MMA, with both combatants winding up on the floor 20 times, testing the great patience of referee John Cauci. The only injury was two stitches to Soliman's lip.
Soliman's attempt to win the IBO Middleweight title from Raymond Joval in the Amsterdam, Netherlands in 2001 ended with a majority decision loss over 12 rounds. In 2004, Soliman avenged that loss by defeating Joval by unanimous decision over 12 rounds in an IBF Middleweight title eliminator. Soliman then lost a 12 round decision to Ronald 'Winky' Wright in a WBC and IBF eliminator in 2005.
Soliman has dropped three contests to Anthony Mundine, once in an IBF Pan Pacific title bout (Soliman now holds the belt) and twice in WBA Super Middleweight championship bouts. By decisioning Eromosele Albert for the # 2 IBF rating position (right after Albert lost an IBF title bout to Daniel Geale) and by decisioning Wood (who has beaten Mundine), Soliman has staked his claim to a shot at the winner of the IBF championship bout between Daniel Geale and Osumanu Adama, and has called out Geale.
Geale, an Australian who holds the IBF Middleweight title, will defend his championship belt against # 1 contender Adama of Ghana on March 7, 2012, at Derwent Entertainment Centre in Hobart, Tasmania.
Wood, 33, Sydney, Australia, now 10-3-1, 6 kayos, won Australia's version of 'The Contender ' TV Series in his eighth professional fight. Soliman rose to # 12 on Boxrec by defeating Wood. Geale is ranked # 3 by Boxrec. Adama, fighting out of Chicago for Wasfi Tolaymat's Chicago Fight Promotion, is currently # 9, and will arrive in Tanzania in final preparation for his bout with Geale shortly.