New IBF middleweight boxing world champion Sam Soliman wants a unification bout with Gennady Golovkin but he might have to join two other Australians in the queue after extracting payback from Felix Sturm.
After a 17-year professional career, the 40-year-old Melburnian finally climbed to the sport's summit in Krefeld, Germany, early on Sunday (AEST) with a unanimous points decision win over Sturm.
American judges John Poturaj and Don Trella both scored it 118-110 while Polish colleague Miroslaw Brozio had Soliman winning 117-111.
He displayed an incredible work rate and stamina to dominate the rematch against defending champion Sturm, who he unanimously outpointed in their first fight in February 2013.
The German boxing commission later altered that result to a no-contest after they announced Soliman had returned a positive drug test for an illegal stimulant.
His B sample later tested clean for any prohibited substances and the IBF retained him as their No. 1 contender.
Sturm needled Soliman in the lead-up to the rematch, commenting on the initial drug test result.
He described the Sturm camp's behaviour before the first bout as unprofessional.
Adding to the existing acrimony was a dispute on the eve of the fight over which gloves would be used.
While fired up by Sturm's remarks, Soliman stayed true to his pre-fight promise to stay composed and get his payback in the ring.
He outworked the defending champion, landing a lot more punches and only once late in the fight did Sturm look to be causing him a problem.
"I wanted to take the fight to him," Soliman said.
Sturm (39-4-2 18 KOs) conceded Soliman (44-11, 18 KOs) won the fight clearly.
"He kept moving, he was hard to hit," Sturm said.
Asked about what Soliman wanted to do next, his manager David Stanley said: "Unification is really what we would be looking at ... GG (WBA champion Golovkin).
"We reckon it's going to be an a very interesting fight, a very worthwhile fight for Sam."
Soliman joins former IBF and WBA Super champion Daniel Geale and WBA No 2-ranked contender Jarrod Fletcher in wanting a crack at Golovkin.
Golovkin's next bout is supposed to be a mandatory defence against Queenslander Fletcher.
However, Golovkin's promoter Tom Loeffler recently said he was looking at getting an exemption for a fight against Sydney-based Tasmanian Geale.
Geale is the highest-ranked contender for Soliman's title but isn't the new champion's first priority.
"There would need to be some pretty serious money on the table to fight Geale next," Stanley said.
Earlier on Sunday in Macau, former flyweight and super flyweight world champion Vic Darchinyan was stopped in the fifth round of his challenge to WBA featherweight champion Nicholas Walters. - AAP