Felix Sturm’s stern words are motivating Melbourne veteran Sam Soliman going into his rematch with the IBF middleweight boxing world champion in Germany this weekend.
Soliman, 40, will step into the ring in Krefeld (early Sunday morning WA time) looking to achieve the high point of a long professional career.
Soliman outpointed Sturm last year in a non-title bout in Dusseldorf.
However the German boxing commission altered the result to a no-contest after announcing Soliman had tested positive to an illegal stimulant.
Soliman won a crucial battle outside the ring when his B sample tested clean and showed no traces of any substance prohibited by the IBF.
Sturm, 35, won the title last December from Englishman Darren Barker, who had taken it from Australia’s Daniel Geale four months earlier. The German sniped at Soliman and his team at this week’s press conference.
“He and his team acted unprofessional before the fight and when we received the news about him testing positive, well, enough is enough,” Sturm said.
“It’s time someone sends him into retirement.”
Soliman is determined to stay composed in the ring, whilst admitting Sturm’s words have fired him up.
“I love all that, it gives me all the energy to do what I have to do in the ring,” Soliman told AAP.
“But on top of that, composure is the most important thing and I’ll have that in the ring.
“The best payback is in the ring.”
Soliman said the key to victory was he had left no stone unturned in his preparation over the past seven and a half weeks.
Primed by long-standing trainer Dave Hedgecock and good sparring with Denmark’s former super middleweight world title contender Rudy Markussen, Soliman is convinced he can stay a step ahead of Sturm.
“While he’s training hard to match anything that I have, I’m coming up with new stuff all the time,” Soliman said.
Former flyweight and super flyweight world champion Vic Darchinyan (39-6, 28 KOs) gets another chance to boost his flagging career by challenging Jamaica’s unbeaten WBA featherweight champion Nicholas Walters (23-0, 19 KOs) in Macau Saturday night.
The 38-year-old boxer, who relocated to Australia after representing Armenia at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, has lost three of his last five fights, but fought well in his last contest against old adversary Nonito Donaire before being stopped in the ninth round.
Donaire is also on the bill, challenging WBA featherweight champion Simpiwe Vetyeka, who won the title by defeating Indonesia's Chris John in Perth last December.