At age 39, it seemed as though Australian middleweight veteran Sam Soliman had finally gotten a career defining victory, as he outpointed former middleweight titlist Felix Sturm over twelve tough rounds on Feb. 1, somehow prevailing on the scorecards in Sturm’s backyard in Germany.
Unfortunately, news has just surfaced that Soliman tested positive for a yet to be determined designer drug in his post-fight A-sample, as confirmed by German Boxing Federation president Thomas Putz. They could now open Soliman’s B-sample if Soliman’s team asks for it to be opened, which could take place in the next week.
Though the substance has yet to be named, it has been narrowed down to an amphetamine that is performance enhancing. It is often used in cycling and helps produce a higher amount of oxygen.
“I received a letter from NADA (National Anti-Doping Agency) today with the news that Soliman’s A sample was tested positive,” said Putz in an official statement. “They found a designer drug in the urine sample that was taken after the fight with Felix Sturm on February 1st. I’m shocked and already informed the governing bodies.”
“This explains a lot,” said Sturm upon hearing the news to German newspaper BILD.
“We hope for justice and a new shot for Felix,” said Sturm manager Roland Bebak.
Despite his awkward style, Soliman has always come into fights in tremendous shape, and the Sturm fight was no aberration as the perennial contender finished strong in order to edge Sturm 114-113 on two scorecards with a third, wider 116-111 in his favor rendering him the unanimous victor.
The irony here is that it was Soliman’s team who asked for the most uncommon of drug tests prior to the fight, all of which Sturm participated in, yet it is Soliman who tests positive. If the B-sample tests positive, the fight would likely become a no contest and Soliman would lose his mandatory spot to challenge for fellow Australian Daniel Geale’s IBF 160-pound title.
More details to come as they emerge.
Photo / Dennis Grombkowski-Bongarts
Mark Ortega is the boxing columnist for the Martinez News-Gazette and is a member of the Boxing Writers Assoc. of America and the RING Ratings Advisory Panel. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org well as followed on Twitter @MarkEOrtega.