IBF middleweight champion Felix Sturm is ready to erase the memory of his first controversial defeat to Sam Soliman last year after admitting to WBN that his preparation may not have been all it should.
The 35 year-old, who regained the world title for the third time when defeating Darren Barker in December, is out to prove that Soliman’s subsequent drug test failings were the sole reason for his third career loss.
After spending some time out of the sport, Soliman was ironically made the number one challenger to Sturm’s red belt and the German sees it as fate that he now has the chance to rectify one of the blemishes on his record.
“Well, he’s the mandatory challenger for my world title and it doesn’t matter whether I think he deserves the fight or not as I have an obligation to fight him,” Sturm told World Boxing News.
“I’m looking forward to righting the wrongs from the first fight and to show the world that I’m the superior fighter. I have to fight him in order to keep my IBF title, and as I am very proud to be IBF champion, I want to keep that title.
“I didn’t prepare properly for the first fight and hat showed in the ring and that has made me change my approach to boxing. I finally learned that talent will only get you so far. Now, my whole life is dedicated to boxing. My weight is much better and I can focus on the really important things in training. I’ll come into the rematch in excellent shape and that will make a difference.
“We have worked on some surprises for Soliman, but you’ll see that on May 31. One thing is for certain though, I will retire Sam Soliman!”
Before Soliman was pushed as his mandatory, Sturm was linked to clashes with ex-opponents Daniel Geale and Matthew Macklin, although the seasoned champion wouldn’t be drawn on rumours those fights could be revisited.
“I’m only focused on May 31 right now. We’ll see about the future after next Saturday,” said Sturm.
“I believe I have a couple of years fighting left in me, but I don’t know how many fights exactly. One thing is I will show this weekend that I am here to stay.”
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