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.
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