Melbourne veteran boxer Sam Soliman's next fight can make or break his career as he takes on German Felix Sturm to set up a crack at a world title.
Sam Soliman knows it's a case of now or never if he's to achieve his life-long dream of a boxing world title.
The veteran Melbourne middleweight must beat German Felix Sturm, the former WBA middleweight champion, in Germany on February 1 for a crack at the world title held by Australian Daniel Geale.
Geale will fight Anthony Mundine four days earlier in Sydney, with the victor to face the winner of the Soliman-Sturm contest for the IBF belt.
The 39-year-old is thrilled to be two fights away from a world title - a goal he has been chasing all his career.
"I'm two fights away from my biggest dream," said Soliman, whose record is 42-11, 17KO.
"I'm not going to blow it now.
"I've been training for 24 years and have had 170 fights so it's now or never.
"I couldn't be in better shape and am leaving no stone unturned."
Geale delivered Sturm his first loss since 2006 in early September in Germany when he took his WBA title in a split decision.
The WBA subsequently stripped the Australian of the title for electing to fight Mundine rather than its No.1 contender Kazakhstan's Gennady Golovkin.
The IBF granted Geale an exception to regulations to fight Mundine ahead of Soliman, who is the mandatory contender for that organisation's title.
Soliman wanted to avoid "ring rust" by taking on 33-year-old Sturm, who he believed would give him perfect preparation for the world title fight, to be held before May 2.
Moving his training camp to the UK in early January to acclimatise to the winter conditions, Soliman said he had gained a lot watching Geale get the better of the seasoned German.
"The biggest thing I learnt was that Australians can go to Germany and win a fight," Soliman said.
"We all remember that Danny Green went down there and he pretty much destroyed Markus Beyer and they found a way to mess his dreams up.
"The confidence I got from watching the Geale-Sturm fight is huge."
He said he was happy to take on a wounded opponent in Sturm, whose record is 37-3, 16KO.
"He will want to prove a point and is going to come out twice as hard but I love that because it's going to make it twice as good a win."
While Soliman's career will effectively be over with a loss to Sturm, he's put an end date of late 2014 and has vowed to bow out a world champion.
"Beating Sturm and either Beale or Mundine are stepping stones," he said.
"I want to make a couple of successful title defences and then be remembered as a champion."