Sam Soliman - Ready for the title

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The long awaited main event for the IBF World Title eliminator was to be battled out between between Garth Wood and Sam Soliman. The winner would have to fight the champ Daniel ‘Real Deal’ Geale at a date yet to be scheduled.
A hesitant Garth Wood let Sam Soliman use the ring in the first round. His punches looked stiff and couldn’t find his rhythm.
The round ended by Soliman hanging on Woods neck in the air for a good 15 seconds. Referee John Gauci was struggling to break up the two.
Round 2 was a much better round for the NSW boxer as he managed to connect a few of his stiff jabs followed by the right. Both fighters are known for being unorthodox and awkward.
Sam Soliman started his magic in round 4 where he jumped, held and wrestled connecting with right hand. 
For every jab by Wood came 4 Soliman punches. Later in the round 5 Wood connected with a good right, getting in the lead for a while. Soliman retaliated with more punches and angles.

Sam Soliman started to enjoy himself half way trough the fight, Garth Wood looked to be frustrated.
Soliman started to connect more often with right crosses sending a lot of spray from Wood’s head.
With his hands down and fast counters Sam was getting better of the exchanges.
It was a hard Sunday afternoon for referee John Gauci as both fighters wanted to wrestle and throw in the clinch.
Round 9 saw Garth wood swinging at Soliman after he slipped. That was the best round of the fight. Both fighters had their moments, but it was 10–9 for Wood on the Cornerman card. 
Round 10 was the ugly round where both fighters spent most of their time in the clinch. By the last ten minutes both fighters falling trough the ropes outside the ring.
Round 11 was again all Sam Soliman who danced, kept his hands low and was making angles. He was laughing at Garth Wood's tactics who was fighting dirty, holding and wrestling from frustration.
Wood realised that he needed to knock out Soliman to win this fight. He launched at him leading with his head. Soliman countered and Wood takes an 8 count. Soliman is getting desperate asking Gauci to intervene.
After the final bell everyone knew that Sam Soliman had this one in the bag. Judges decision was unanimous to Sam Soliman.
‘I love the sport same as Sam, I wanted to win but take my word for it I shall return.’ Said Garth Wood obviously bitter about the outcome.
‘We threw every punch with intentions and I have to say that I went to fight with a guy that can punch.’ Said Sam Soliman the winner in his final speech.
Semi main event was between Yao Yi Ma and Virgil Kalakoda scheduled over 12 rounds.
Kalakoda – a slow starter decided to stay in front of Ma and almost paid for the mistake in round 3 when he was almost knocked out.
He needed a full round to recover. He was dancing around hard-hitting Ma using his jab and angles.
Round 5 Kalakoda stood in front of Ma again. Half way trough the round Ma connected with the powerful left hook keeping his opponent dazed again.
Yao Yi Ma had great balance on his feet and could create lot of power in both of his hands. In round 7 he had Kalakoda backed up to the ropes.
It was the round 8 when Ma connected with a huge left hook sending Kalakoda to the ropes. Referree Bernie McMahon jumped in for the 8 count and let the fight continue. Yao Yi Ma stepped up to finish the fight but trainer Tony Del Vecchio threw the towel to spare his fighter more punishment.
Virgil Kalakoda announced his retirement in his post fight speech after 17 years in the ring and thanked his fans for their support and said that he just had a fight with Daniel Dawson who is a World-class fighter and went distance with him. (Twice) ‘Yao belongs on the World stage’ he said.
The first fight was in the Super Middleweight division between Peter Kazzi and Chokchana Sithkrupon.
Kazzi who drew with Sithkrupon last year was on the front foot trying to get underneath his opponent. He wasn’t able to capitalize and couldn’t find his mark.
Sithkrupon was using his jab to keep Kazzi at bay connecting with uppercuts.
It was scheduled over 6 rounds and 38 years old Kazzi just wasn't keeping up the pace and letting the 27 years old Sithkrupon take the lead.
Sithkrupon fought in Australia previously and lost to Mark Pawsey and more recently to Japanese fighter Yoshinori Nishizawa for a World Title.
Two judges saw the fight in favor of the Thai fighter by a big margin and only one awarded it to the NSW fighter.
Chokchana Sithkrupon won by split decision.

The second fight was in the welterweight division between southpaw Joey Williams and Jacques Hendrickson.
Williams, a footy player turned professional boxer, had the speed on his opponent. Often connecting with his jab but allowing Hendrickson to get hit too. 
It was a four rounder and judges saw the fight as a draw. Not a great result for Joey Williams who wants to prove to the public that he can box.

Next up was Ben McCulloch better known from The Contender series, came to the fight undefeated after a longer break due to a hand injury.
He moves with ease and has a great reach for a super middleweight and will be a great contender in Australian boxing in near future.
Ben looked more like he was sparring, showing his opponent that he owned the ring from round one.
Round two prevailed great body shots from McCulloch and he was showing fans good defense with his lead hand low.
The last 30 seconds in the round 2 he stepped up and started to connect with left and right blows. After a well executed straight right hand he sent  Atalili Fai down and out.
Good display of boxing from Ben McCulloch who is definetly on his way up this year.

The heavyweight fight between Peter Brennan and Michael O’Donnell was scheduled for 6 rounds.
O’Donnell had the height and reach advantage but wasn’t able to hit clean shots while Brennan moved his head and counter punched hitting O’Donnell at will.
He looked faster and in control catching O’Donnell with big left hooks. O’Donnell didn’t have the power to come back and change the course of the fight. 
Fight went the full 6 rounds andwas awarded to the Southern Cross Boxing fighter Peter Brennan.
Another rematch from last year was between young prospect Sam Ah-See and Indonesian journeyman Aswin Cabuy. The last encounter ended up as a technical draw after a head clash in round 3.
Ah-See has chose a slow approach like in his last fight feeling his opponent out.
Cabuy now fighting with a southpaw stance wanted to have a go, but after getting hit hard with Ah-See’s crosses was back working on his defense.
Ah-See was getting more comfortable as the fight progressed setting the pace, keeping Cabuy on the back foot.
Round 6 was a one way traffic by Sam Ah-See dominating trying to finish Cabuy.
Ah-See took the decision on all cards.
It was a great Sunday afternoon and Australian boxing needs more fight promotions like this in future.
Tomas Vysokai
Photos by Milos Lekovic




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