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Q&A With Sam Soliman

By Ike Enwereuzor -

IBF Pan Pacific middleweight champion Sam "King" Soliman (27-7 9KO's) is expected to trade blows with Colombian Diego Castillo (21-2 18KO's) on November 4, in Queensland, Australia. Soliman now ranked IBF number-one mandatory challenger is calling out undisputed middleweight king, Bernard Hopkins, former world champion Felix Trinidad and all top middleweights in the world. Here's what "King" Sam Soliman had to say..

Ike: What's next for you now?

Sam Soliman: Who's next for me? I am fighting Columbian Diego Castillo 21-2 - 18 Ko's on November 6 in Queensland, Australia over 10 rounds - beyond this is up to my Promoter Dan Goossen and my Manager Stuart Duncan. We wanted to fight Jermain Taylor for the number one IBF spot and ended up taking on Joval instead. We would now like to fight Jermain for the Mandatory positon, but it appears he is not interested. If I had it my way it would be Bernard Hopkins or Felix Trinidad and both Stuart & Dan know that. Understanding Hopkins has to face his WBO mandatory challenger in Sturm or vacate and go up for another big money fight, I see little chance of me ever getting to face him. My theory is if I can get Tito into the ring and conquer him - perhaps then the HBO's will acknowledge I am the man to dethrone Bernard. I have already offered to give him back 50% of my purse for him to donate to a childrens charity of his choice - told him we will travel to wherever he wants - whenever he wants with his choice of officials.

Ike: Your thoughts on the Hopkins-De La Hoya fight?

Sam: What did I think of the DLH - Hopkins fight? I just smiled the whole way through. What I saw confirmed what I saw when DLH took on Sturm & Hopkins took on Allen. And that is that DLH is no where near as dangerous at 160 Lb and that Hopkins is on the verge of growing old over night. Hopkins wouldn't be able to handle me - after 4 rounds he'd think he's fought four opponents, not one! After 6 rounds frustration would settle in and he'd start launching for the big KO. Hey there might be 7 losses to my record, but I have never been stopped and have had one flash knock down (count) in 34 fights. This flash knock down was a footwork / balance problem and after the count I dominated the rest of the round as I did the whole fight against Nader Hamden, who's record was 32-0 at the time. I have a great chin - but to even try to test it you've gotto be able to hit it "flush" .. Something Hopkins couldn't do.

Ike: What are your feelings about Felix Sturm and Howard Eastman?

Sam: Feelings on Sturm & Eastman (Hopkins Ive already said my piece). With Sturm: my
manager who was ringside for his fight against DLH says he was robbed, an opinion I shared once I saw it on delayed telecast. In saying that, I don't believe DLH was anywhere near his best and I would fight Felix anytime. Stuart Duncan asked Dan Goosen if Jermain wasn't going to fight me for the mandatory - could we fight Felix Sturm as he was next in line at that point. Obviously he is now chasing his date with the Executioner for the WBO Title.

Howard Eastman is a tough boxer, very skilled with a bit of power. Again, we have offered a rematch on numerous occassions to no avail. Howard is getting on a bit and I can understand his frustration at not being able to get Jermain into the ring for the WBC Mandatory position.

Ike: Tell us about your fights with these Boxers Sean Sullivan, Eric Teymour, Anthony Mundine, Jerry Elliott, Glen Kelly, Kevin Kelly.

Sam: Eric Teymour; He is one tough customer, dangerous coming forward and can
punch a bit. I had a comfortable win against him a couple of years ago in Scotland. Havent heard much about him since, though the last time I checked he was active and still undefeated other than his loss to me. How would I fight him again - with his walk up style: I would handle him pretty much the same as I did last time with superior work rate and angles he's not used to. My work rate is so much higher now than it was then and I am punching in closer and much harder now.

Anthony Mundine; I have been on the end of a couple of bad decisions in my career, however this would have to be the worst. I outworked him and clearly landed more punches, was the agressor in more instances - yet couldn't get the decision. I took the fight on 9 days notice and had to travel from London where I was based at the time. Fight Anthony again? In a heart beat ! Anywhere - anytime. Were not bitter as this is old news, we learn form our experiences and worry about what is happening tommorow, not what happened yesterday. In saying this, I am now concentrating @ 160 Lb where I have been ever since that bout. Anthony has gone onto secure a World Title and we wish him all the best. We wont chase a fight with him, but I wouldn't need to be asked twice to fight him in a rematch.

Jerry Elliot; I'd probably rather not go there, however it could probably be better answered by Jerry. He is a lovely bloke and I wont say anything other than he came up to me in the change rooms after the fight and apologised saying he couldn't control the judges and that's boxing! This is a loss I would rather forget about. Re-match ; Exactly the same as I did last time.

Glen & Kevin Kelly; Kevin was my 3rd professional fight and he'd had 25 when I took him on for his Australian Light Middleweight Title. Unfortunately I wasn't managed back in those days and my attitude was anyone anywhere anytime. All a bit premature unfortunately as you see I then went onto fight his brother for his Australian Light Heavy in my 11th fight (he was undefeated in 21 fights at that stage). Both brothers I travelled to their backyard (interstate) and lost narrowly to both on points. Re-match with either ; Kevin is retired and Glen contests as a cruiserweight. While Id go to Super Middle to fight Mundine - my days of fighting our of my weight range are over

Ike: What message would you like to send to all middleweights?

Sam: My message to all the middleweights ; Felix Trinidad: "PLEASE", a win over you
will get me what I want and that's a date with Hopkins. You are the opponent I want to face. Jermain Taylor: keep ducking me "go stich some balls on boy, and come fight me" People touting you as the one to dethrone Hopkins ? What a load of crap You've been asked to fight me to become the IBF mandatory challenger to Hopkins - You've been asked to fight Howard Eastman to become the WBC mandatory challenger to Hopkins. Yet you don't want to fight either? Big rangey boxer who is probably best suited in super middle - yet he continues to fight Jnr Middles ?

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