In the history of professional boxing there has never been a division as much dominated by German fighters as the middleweight right now. With Felix Sturm (WBA), Sebastian Sylvester (IBF) and Sebastian Zbik (WBC) there are three reigning world middleweight champions from Germany, and a fourth man is only waiting for his chance to get a shot at a title: IBF intercontinental champion Benjamin Simon will face Australia’s "King“ Sam Soliman on April 1st in Berlin in an IBF Elimination fight for the no. 2 spot and a possible shot against Sylvester.
"My goal is very simple: I want to fight for a world title this year and I want to become world champion", states Simon.
So far the 28 year-old with the impressive physique of a bodybuilder has won 20 of his 21 pro-fights including 19 stoppages. But although he holds wins over rugged veterans like Rashid Matumla and Zoltan Kalocsai, the elimination fight against Soliman will be a big step up for "Iron Ben".
"We know that this is Ben’s toughest test so far but we also know that he is ready for this fight" says trainer and manager Robert Rolle. "We have worked very hard to get to where we are right now. And if Ben shows at the fight what he is showing me in training every day, I am sure that he will simply destroy Soliman. I think Ben’s power will be too much for the Australian although we know that Soliman is very experienced and has been in the ring with some of the greatest fighters in the world."
With his 37 years Sam Soliman is nearly ten years older than his German foe. He is a multiple (and multi-division) Australian and Pan Pacific champion and has challenged fellow Aussie Anthony Mundine for the WBA super middleweight championship twice (losing by ko and unanimous decision). Soliman holds wins over Sakio Bika (in October 2002) and Enrique Ornelas (in November 2006) and lost a close decision to Ronald "Winky" Wright in December 2005. He is the reigning World Boxing Foundation and IBF Pan Pacific middleweight champion and is certainly not just coming to Germany to collect his purse.
"Of course, Soliman will do all he can to win the fight“, says Simon. „But all he can won’t be enough against me."
The elimination bout headlines a card put together by ARENA Sports-Promotion in association with Prime Time Event & Entertainment on April 1st at "digibet Pferdesportpark" in Berlin, Germany. Eurosport will broadcast live from Berlin on April 1st from 9.00pm to 11.00pm Central European Time.
Besides the middlweight clash between Simon and Soliman the show also features fast rising German heavyweight prospect Erkan Teper, heavyweight contenders Alexander Petkovic, Goran Gogic, Yakup Saglam and Gbenga Oloukun as well as light heavyweight prospect Varol Vekiloglu. In addition to that Prime Time director Eva Rolle presents two female IBF world championship bouts featuring Rola El-Halabi (vs. Irma Balijagic Adler) and Jennifer Retzke (vs. Eva Halasi).
"We are looking forward to a great night of boxing", says promoter Ahmet Oner. "I am sure that we will put together a great show with lots of interesting fights. Of course, we are taking a risk with the fight between Simon and Soliman. But if Ben wants to fight for a world title he has to prove that he can handle guys like Soliman and I am convinced that he will pass this test."