By Ed Baylor: IBF middleweight champion Felix Sturm (39-3-2, 18 KO’s) will be facing Sam Soliman (43-11, 18 KO’s) in a rematch tonight at the König Palast, Krefeld, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. This is a fight to clear up the controversy around their previous fight in 2013 in which Soliman beat Sturm by a 12 round split decision, only to have the results overturned due to Soliman testing positive for a banned substance.
Sturm wants to prove that he’s the better man to show boxing fans that it was an off night for him, whereas Soliman is out to prove that he’s still the better man than Sturm. Soliman has the game to give Sturm a lot of problems if he’s able to fight at the same pace that he did last year, as he showed in that fight that he could push a pace that Sturm was unable to keep up with. It was a combination of the pace and the odd punching angles that Soliman used that enabled him to get the win. However, it was still a very close fight even with Soliman getting the better of Sturm in almost every round.
The judges scored it 116-112, 116-112 for Soliman, and 116-112 for Sturm. It seemed like a pretty clear victory for Soliman, but given that the fight took place in Germany, it’s understandable why one of the judges had Sturm as the winner. The crowd was cheering everything that Sturm did, and that probably had the one lone wolf judge thinking that he was doing a swell job.
Soliman has fought once since the Sturm fight in beating Les Sherrington last December. Soliman looked very good in that fight, and not like someone who’d been out of the ring for the past 10 months. Sturm has fought twice since the Soliman fight in beating Darren Barker to win the IBF 160lb title last December, and before that defeating Predrag Radosevic last July.
The Sturm-Soliman fight is a tossup as both guys seem to be pretty evenly matched in the talent department. You have to give Sturm the edge because he’s fighting in his home country of Germany, so if the fight is close, he’ll probably get the nod by the judges.