- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Australian middleweight contender Sam Soliman, who outpointed former titleholder Felix Sturm in a world title elimination bout on Feb. 1 in Duesseldorf, Germany, was suspended for nine months and had the result of the bout changed to a no contest, the German Boxing Federation announced on Tuesday.
The 39-year-old Soliman (new record 42-11, 17 KOs) got knocked down by Germany's Sturm (new record 37-3-2, 16 KOs), 34, in the in the second round of the fight but went on to win a unanimous decision -- 116-111, 114-113, 114-113. The victory earned Soliman a mandatory shot at 160-pound titleholder Daniel
Geale, also of Australia, but that now goes by the wayside.
The German Boxing Federation announced that Soliman's "A" sample had tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug in early March. Soliman insisted that the "B" sample be tested somewhere other than Germany and it is to be tested in the United States rather than by the agency that tested the "A" sample -- which goes against the rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Attorney Kurt Emhoff, who works with Soliman, contends that the German Boxing Federation is "in such a hurry to discredit Sam that they couldn't even wait for the 'B' sample to be tested. I repeat, they haven't even tested the 'B' sample. They are saying that we refused to allow them to test the 'B' sample but that is totally false. We agreed with the (German Boxing Federation) to split the 'B' sample into two and we would have one half tested in the U.S. at an agreed upon lab that does drug testing for boxing and they would keep the other half at their lab to test. We think they put out this suspension without a 'B' sample test because they are trying to avoid a potential negative test result from the U.S."
Emhoff said Team Soliman initially requested that the 'B' sample be sent a WADA lab in Australia to be tested.
"Under both the (German Boxing Federation) and the IBF rules, the 'B' sample is allowed to be tested at a lab other than the one that tested the 'A' sample as long as the boxer and local commission agree to it. Initially, (the German Boxing Federation) agreed to do this," Emhoff said. Emhoff said they were then told it was against the rules to allow the 'B' sample to be tested at a lab different than the one that tested the 'A' sample.
"Eventually, we settled on splitting the 'B' sample into two," Emhoff said. "There is one half of the 'B' sample sitting in a freezer in a lab in Cologne, Germany doing nothing while the other half is actually being tested in a Quest Diagnostics laboratory in the U.S. We are awaiting the results."
Although Soliman is suspended in Germany, Australian regulators are not obligated to uphold it, although the change of the result stands for the time being.
Australian media reported that the banned substance that Soliman tested positive for is the stimulant methylsynephrine.
Soliman denies using a performance-enhancing drug.
"(Soliman is) absolutely gobsmacked because this (anti-doping) is a very important principle that he lives by," David Stanley, Soliman's manager, told the wire service AAP. "I'm told that the Sturm camp is alleging that Sam has tested positive for an undetectable amphetamine. That's absolute rubbish. I'm also told that Sturm has identified who he should be fighting next so that he can then fight for the world title. This is an act of absolute desperation."
Sam Soliman, who outpointed former titleholder Felix Sturm in a world title elimination bout on Feb. 1, was suspended for nine months and had the result of the bout changed to a no contest, the German Boxing Federation announced on Tuesday.