Thursday, October 9, 2014 5:38 am
Former undisputed world champion Jermain Taylor captured the International Boxing Federation middleweight title Wednesday with a unanimous decision over Australian Sam Soliman, who finished 12 rounds despite a right leg injury.
Taylor spent two years away from the ring after a severe brain injury before returning in 2011 and achieved the crowning moment of his comeback when judges awarded the 36-year-old American the verdict by scores of 116-111, 115-109 and 116-109.
“I heard it before. Now I’m hearing it again,” Taylor said of the ring announcement of his new title.
Taylor, who improved to 33-4 with one draw and 5-0 in his comeback run, claimed the undisputed middleweight title in 2005 after defeating Bernard Hopkins, but retired in 2009 after losing four of five fights over two years.
Soliman, who turns 41 next month, took command in the early rounds but was forced to his right knee by a Taylor jab in the seventh and then favored the leg to the end of the fight.
Former dock worker Soliman, who fell to 44-12, suffered a torn right knee ligament in a 2007 loss to fellow Aussie Anthony Mundine. Soliman had won nine fights in a row since a 2008 loss to Mundine.
“It wasn’t an injury that came back because of bad luck. It was because of Jermain,” Soliman said.
“If he wasn’t as good a fighter as he was, he wouldn’t have come up with the goods.”
Limping in the ring at times but always able to perform well enough to pass muster, a gritty Soliman stayed in to the end even as the referee and ringside doctor each questioned if he could continue.
“He’s a warrior,” Taylor said. “He did the same thought I would have. He kept fighting.”
Soliman, a former dock worker, suffered a torn right knee ligament in a 2007 loss to fellow Aussie Anthony Mundine. Soliman had won nine fights in a row since a 2008 loss to Mundine.
“I’m not going to take up table tennis just yet,” Soliman said when asked if he might retire.
Soliman had won the crown with a unanimous decision over Felix Sturm last May.