By Cliff Rold
To a chorus of boos from the crowd, 25-year old Middleweight Dominic Wade (18-0, 12 KO), 162 ½, of Largo, Maryland, escaped from the veteran clutches of 41-year old former IBF Middleweight titlist Sam Soliman (44-13, 18 KO), 161, of Melbourne, Australia, with a split decision over ten rounds. The difference in the fight, a knockdown in the fourth, saved the fight from a draw. The referee was Jack Reiss.
It was an awkward, ugly fight from start to finish. Soliman’s awkward jab, movement, and experience, along with lots of two-way grappling inside, made the fight a long night for a Wade making a step up in competition. Wade scored a knockdown in the fourth, catching Soliman off balance, but nearly gave the point back two rounds later when he tossed the veteran to the floor before the bell. In terms of ring generalship, it was a Soliman fight with punch stats indicating Soliman had outworked and outlanded Wade but Wade landed his share of stiff, eye-catching shots. Round by round, it was a difficult fight to score.
The judges struggled with it too. One judge came in at 96-93 Soliman but was overruled at a too wide 97-92 and reasonable 95-94 for Wade.
Talented 19-year old Jr. Middleweight Erickson Lubin (11-0, 8 KO), 152 ½, of Orlando, Florida, probably got better work on the heavy bag than what he saw in the ring Friday night. It looked that way anyways as Lubin casually walked through 29-year old Ghanaian Ayi Bruce (23-10, 15 KO), 151 ½, of Albany, New York. Two knockdowns of Bruce, and very little return fire, made for easy work. Referee Ray Corona counted Bruce out on the second knockdown, the official time 2:49 of the first. It was the seventh knockout loss of Bruce’s career.
In the televised opener, 28-year old 2008 Colombian Olympian Oscar Rivas (17-0, 12 KO), 244, fighting out of Montreal, Canada, continued his march to contention in the Heavyweight division with a first round stoppage of 25-year old Jason Pettaway (17-3, 10 KO). It was an eventful round, Rivas scoring three knockdowns but losing two points for the first when he struck Pettaway on the deck. Referee Robert Byrd called the official halt to the bout at 2:25 of round one.
The card was televised in the US on Showtime as part of its ShoBox series, promoted by TGB Promotions.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]