Australia's Sam Soliman has won the IBF middleweight boxing title with a unanimous points win over Germany's Felix Sturm, in Krefeld, Germany. The 40-year-old Melburnian showed enormous reserves of fitness to dominate the fight. Americans John Poturaj and Don Trella both scored it 118-110 while their Polish colleague Miroslaw Brozio had him ahead 117-111.
"He won, clearly," Sturm conceded after the fight. "He kept moving, he was hard to hit."
It was the sweetest win of all for 17-year professional Soliman, who outpointed 35-year-old Sturm in Germany in February 2013.
However, the German boxing commission later altered that result to a no-contest after announcing Soliman returned a positive drug test for an illegal stimulant.
His B sample later tested clean for any prohibited substances.
That was a non-title bout, but with the belt on the line this time, Soliman produced an emphatic performance.
He comprehensively outworked the defending champion, landing a lot more punches.
Sturm had no answer to Soliman's swarming style, though on one occasion late in the bout, he looked as though he may have hurt the Australian.
Soliman quickly resumed his dominance and was well on top at the end.
He was warned by American referee Eddie Cotton in the third round for some of his tactics, but as he promised before the bout, never lost his composure.
"I wanted to take the fight to him," Soliman said.
Soliman improved his overall record to 44-11 (18 KOs) and stretched his winning streak to six years.
Sturm's record dropped to 39-4-2 (18 KOs).
Soliman's win has set up a potential all Australian matchup with former IBF champion Daniel Geale, who was the next highest ranked contender behind the Victorian.