Steve: This is Steve from Calibre Fitness, interviewing Sam Soliman, How are you doing, Sam?

Sam: G’day mate, How you going?


Steve: Yeh, great thank you. Sam, where did you get the nickname ‘the king’ from?

Sam: Haha, funny enough, Mum made that up when I was a kid.


Steve: Haha, so you’ve had it for some time!

Sam: Yeh, I was a former kick boxer back in the late 80s, early 90s and my parents come from Egyptian descent and King Solomon was a wise man in the bible and so she used to call me king Solomon the wise man and it’s stuck with me ever since.


Steve: Fantastic. What prompted you to make the change from kickboxing to boxing?

Sam: Probably 2 things, 1 financially it paid better. And I loved the sport of boxing and kickboxing. Couldn’t do both because my shins could only take so much, after 13 years of kickboxing, so I turned to boxing and as a job, it was a lot easier.


Steve: Yeh, fair enough. Could you describe a typical training week leading up to a fight.

Sam: Early nights, early morning runs, a hard session in the afternoon, usually core strength then night time boxing and sometimes my trainer would change it up and have me doing my boxing in the afternoon, Dave Hedgecock, who they nicknamed ‘The Rock’, because he’s like a rock. He does my boxing sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the evenings; he changes it up just so my body doesn’t get comfortable to one or the other. He also likes to train me at night at the same time as the fight, so he often trains me at 9:30pm, a similar time to when the fight is just to get the body clock right for the fight, which is a pretty clever thing. Between that and my conditioning coach Christian Enor, who puts me through the hard yards in the gym, it makes the fight a whole lot easier.


Steve: Yeh, fantastic. And how many days would you train a week, is it 5-6 days a week leading up to a fight or less?

Sam: I’d be doing 3-4 days of agility and strength work with Chris and 5 day a week with Dave Hedgecock boxing, so boxing gets me ready for each fight that’s coming up, and conditioning and strength ensures that I go the distance, if I need to go the distance. So it’s getting the best of both worlds.


Steve: Yeh, okay great… and what is your diet like?

Sam: Very important, definitely one of the most important things in my life. Unlike other diets from other sports, this is not only about being fit and in good condition, but making the weight, so say a boxer has to come in at 72.5kg, but he walks around at about 76… To bring that weight down correctly, dieting correctly is will result in you being 100% safe, whereas if a fighter doesn’t do that, then he’s in trouble in the fight because it takes a lot of steam out of you, a lot of energy out of you and a lot of fuel out of you, so if you’ve dropped the kilo’s the night before a fight to make the weight, then in 24 hours try to rehydrate yourself which is never the case, you can only rehydrate yourself over a minimum of 48 hours or else you can suffer serious dehydration. So, yeh… it’s very important. Very good question.


Steve: Thank you. You’re in great form at the moment, winning your last 6 fights, with the last 4 in KO’s. When’s your next match?

Sam: I’ve been doing well, dropping 4 of the last 6 and, and even the one before that wasn’t a KO, but I did drop him a few times and it went to the decision, but it was a good fight for us, that’s what’s got me where I am today which is IBF number 2 ranked fighter in the world and it was a current IBF world champion, holding 2 world titles was the icing on the cake. He hasn’t held all 3, only Kostya Tszyu’s held all 3, WBA, IBF and WBC and Daniel Geale, our Champion in Sydney, I say ‘our’ because he’s Australia, he went to Germany, won the IBF world title, now he’s defending it in Germany against the WBA world champion, if he wins that, then he becomes both the WBA and IBF world champion which means that, he’ll be dual world champion and when I fight him it’ll be for both belts, which will mean I’ll become super champ the way Kostya Tszyu was, he’s the only other Australian that’s held all 3, so it’s going to be a real honour to get the opportunity at that. But first things first, I’ve got a guy in front of me to fight in August… So beat him, and then we’ll look at the big picture and getting a fight with Geale.


Steve: Cool. I just heard a comment recently, do you think Daniel Geale is trying to avoid fighting you?

Sam: That question’s been asked by me and talked about for so long, but the fact of the matter is, he’s keen to fight anyone, he fought in Germany’s home town, Sebastian Sylvester, who was the world champion for a period of time in Germany and he was a good fighter and Daniel went over there… It’s always hard to travel and win, but he did that and prevailed, so I don’t know about him avoiding me, but I’d say more he’s keen to make sure he doesn’t come across a fighter that’s hard to hit and is on a winning streak and KO’ing his opponents, and that’s where we are at the moment. So it could be the reason why the fight’s not happening, but fortunately for us, the IBF will force the fight, because come December, provided we prevail in August against Giovanni Lorenzo, for the IBF world title eliminator, then the fight’s going to be 100% locked in.


Steve: Fantastic, what has been the highlight of your career to date?

Sam: Hmmm, I’ve had quite a few big fights overseas and in Australia, but I think probably my biggest highlight was having the opportunity to fight pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world, Ronald ‘Winky’ Wright, going the distance for 12 rounds with a guy that beat Sam Mosley, who beat Oscar Dela Hoya, who beat Trinidad, who beat all the best fighters that I’ve been following and been a fan of for so many years. For him to beat all them, and then for me to go the distance with him was definitely one of the biggest highlights. Also, beating Raymond Joval for the IBO world title eliminator, and he was the current IBO world champion, beating him in Los Angeles was a huge victory and was won on my favourite times in my life.


Steve: I’m sure you’ve suffered a number of injuries throughout your sports career, have there been any particularly bad injuries?

Sam: I’ve done my 5, 6, 7 Spinal Disk, both shoulders torn, I’ve had floating bone in the elbow, I’ve had fractured metacarpal breaks in my forearms. Torn hamstrings, torn quads, torn calves. I’ve had cracked ribs… There’s no part of my body that hasn’t suffered something, but you know what, you just battle on and accept that it’s part of the sport, and by doing that you overcome it quicker than if you dwell on it and cry over spilt milk, it takes a lot longer to heal and mentally messes with you.


Steve: Sure, you came 3rd on the American Television show ‘The Contender’, how did you get involved with the show and how did you find the experience?

Sam: It was a huge opportunity, a friend by the name of Stewart Duncan had connections in America who were able to get me on to the show, I basically just sent them my resume and everything I’d done in my career and it didn’t take them more than 24 hours to get back to me and say we want to bring you over, so we flew up there and had the opportunity to work with guys such as Sugar Ray Leonard and Buddy McGirt who’d fought my favourite fighter and he was actually in my corner for that fight, but unfortunately for me, my trainer wasn’t allowed in my corner for that fight because it was a reality TV series, they choose who takes your corner for the fight, but fortunately I had guys like Sugar Ray Leonard and that, and I got to meet and greet with a few of my favourite fighters of all time, and it was just a really, really good experience.


Steve: Fantastic, you’re renowned for being willing to fight anyone, anywhere… Which is a bit of a boxing cliché, I guess. Have you ever found yourself in any unusual fighting situations?

Sam: Many, many, many times, I’ve fought on 6-7 different islands, like Papua New Guinea and Fiji and places like that, I’ve fought in over 30 countries around the world. Probably the most unusual one was when I went to Thailand for a holiday with a mate and he left, he only stayed for a couple of days and then went back home, and I stayed for another 4-5 days after that. I went to a kickboxing show to watch a fight (this was when he was a kick boxer) and while I was watching the fight, they asked me are you a fighter and I said ‘yes’, they asked me if I knew who the guy who just fight, and I said yes, he was the current Thai champion, he’d won 116 fights, 11 losses. They asked me if I wanted to get the gloves on and have a fight, haha. I told them that all my stuff was at the hotel, I told them I’d get it all sorted and get back to them within 24 hours. They said ‘no problem, we’ve got stuff for you here. We’ve got gloves, we’ve got shorts, do you want to fight now?’ I said okay. So I went from being on a holiday watching the kickboxing, going in the change rooms, getting some gloves on. I had that many helpers, helping me out, putting gloves on me and strapping my ankles, and getting me ready for the fight. It was just so unexpected, but a great experience. I went to the wall with a Thai fighter and it was just really good fun, an experience I’ll never forget.


Steve: I imagine it’s pretty tough after a brutal fight, how does it feel when you wake up the morning after a really tough fight and how do you recover?

Sam: You can be the sorest, most painful person on the planet, and the fact that you’ve just been to war, whether you’ve won or lost, and you had thousands of people cheering you and you were doing what you loved, those sores are good sores… They remind you of how good the night before was, it’s just hard to explain. You know, you get an injury from a car accident, or you get an injury from something else, you wake up sore and regret what’s happened. I wake up sore, and it’s almost like a thank you reminded of how good the night before was.


Steve: Great. You’re in phenomenal condition for your age, how many fights do you think you’ve got left in you?

Sam: Everybody’s different. Some bodies can last longer than others; it depends on a lot of things, how they go to the gym and more importantly, how well they look after their bodies and how they treat their body. If I were an alcoholic, or I loved having a drink with the boys and didn’t know when to stop, or if I smoked cigarettes or if I left stones unturned and failed to do everything I can do to look after myself, I probably wouldn’t have been able to last this long. I don’t train for a fight the way other people train for a fight, a lot of people fight and then splurge, I don’t do that, I fight, and then once that’s over, I still keep myself in shape. Not in peak shape, you know, you have to put your hair down and enjoy life a little bit, but at the same time, enjoying life doesn't mean getting on the grog or putting on 10kgs, eating junk food and things like that. Letting your hair down means, having a few later nights, 2-3 beers with the boys on a weekend. I keep reminding myself that what you love doing is what’s important and I love my boxing, so those sacrifices are easy to make. So at 38, the way I look after my body now, I should have a couple of years left in me.


Steve: Fantastic, I guess that’s why you really ready to fight anyone anywhere.

Sam: Yeh, that’s right, you never know when a phone call’s going to come round the corner and someone’s going to say Sammy can you come down to such and such to fight.


Steve: You’re well known for your dedication to training, what’s your most hated training exercise?

Sam: That’s a hard one, because for me it’s the more pain the merrier. I remember when I was a kid I used to hate swimming and I used to think it’s just too hard, and now I swim like a fish, I hang out with a few swimming champions, and they’ve been my inspiration in that and before I met them I learnt how to swim, and now they’ve just perfected my style of swimming and now the one type of fitness I always hated the most because I couldn’t do it, is one of my favourites.


Steve: I’m sure you’ve sparred with some phenomenal boxers, who has been your toughest sparring partner?

Sam: I would say, Rudy Markussen, he didn’t get the recognition he deserved, he’s a champion in Denmark, he’s had 31 wins 3 losses, but he was 28-0 when I was sparring with him. He’s fought and beat many of the best fighters in the world and I was fortunate enough to do a bit of work with him when I was in Denmark and he would have to be up there with the best sparring partner I’ve had. Then, of course, Kostya Tszyu, they’d both be in the top 5 of the thousands of people I’ve sparred with in my life, from all over the world.


Steve: What does the future hold for Sam Soliman? Any chance of a switch to MMA?

Sam: Maybe table tennis, haha. Nah, I’ll skip the MMA, I love watching it, big fan of Randy Couture, but I think after boxing I’ll return to martial arts, I love taekwondo and conditioning, competitive sports in self defence, so I think I’ll continue to do that with my career. Also, Aussie rules, I can’t play it that well, but I love the game and love to watch it, so having a kick with the boys would be my idea of sport after boxing.


Steve: So Sam, how do you survive on the wage of a boxer?

Sam: Boxing is a 24/7 sport, 24/7 meaning that it’s something you’re training for 24/7, you know you’re doing your 3 hours a day, 6 days a week but you have to have a wage coming in to pay the bills, so I’ve got a family and a kid, I need to be able to look after my son and my wife. Thanks to Hungry Jack’s and Road Worx, U-build, companies that have supported me and sponsored me, TLS Total Logistics Solutions, I’ve been fortunate enough to have them by my side and cover my wage while I’m in training and believing in me and believing that their investment’s a good one.


Steve: What is your next fight coming up?

Sam: So, I’m fighting in the IBF world title eliminator, I’m one fight away from fighting Daniel Geale for the title.


Steve: Fantastic, so that’s in August?

Sam: We’ll fight 3 days out, so my next fight is for the IBF number 1 spot in the world, I’m currently number 2 and my opponent I’m fighting is number 6 in the world, he’s the one to put his hand up to take the fight. The winner fights Geale for the IBF and WBA world title, so we’ve got everything on the line for this fight and also flighting for Men’s Health, prostate cancer foundation, it’s a charity event that money will be going towards the charity at the same time, so it’s a key fight, should be a cracker, at the Geelong Arena.


Steve: Okay, great. Thanks very much for your time Sam.

Sam: No problem Steve!


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