Soliman, Watts don gloves for Bryn

ONE’S got a shot at the world title, the other is looking to make it on to the international stage. 

But for boxers Sam Soliman and Shelley Watts, time in the ring on Sunday is all about charity.

Soliman and Watts will spar at Boxing For Bryn, a fund raiser for Warrnambool man Bryn Murfett, who suffered serious spinal injuries in a road accident while on holiday in Thailand.

The pair are in Warrnambool as part of their build-up to major career ambitions.

Soliman is using a week-long stint with Warrnambool boxing coach Rodney Ryan to maintain his fitness ahead of a showdown with German Felix Sturm for the International Boxing Federation world middleweight title later this year.

The 40-year-old, a regular visitor to Ryan’s gym, is looking to complete 12 three-minute rounds against a series of challengers during Sunday’s event at the Flying Horse Bar and Brewery.

Publican and South Warrnambool football club coach Matt Monk, police officer Lee Porter, former Dennington coach Darcy Lewis, Merrivale’s Joe Woonton and Terang Mortlake’s Brendan Silk are among those taking on Soliman for a round.

Soliman is training “only” twice a day, waiting for a date to be set for the fight against Sturm, which has to be held before August 8. 

Soliman wants the fight in Melbourne and Sturm wants it in Germany — a venue they fought last year where Soliman won but was controversially stripped of the result.

“We went to school on him in his home-town before and we will be looking at making a replay of that,” he said.

Soliman said he enjoyed coming to the south-west where he could train without the distractions of Melbourne. 

“I’m not having any more fights before the world title because it’s too much of a risk if I get cut,” he said.

“Because I’m not fighting, there’s a difference between being fight ready and being fit. 

‘‘I need to have something and having a crowd and the nerves and the excitement (on Sunday) will be good.’’ 

Soliman said Watts and Warrnambool boxers Bianca Slater and Luci Hand had been pushing him since he arrived in Warrnambool on Tuesday.

Watts, from Laurieton, 30 kilometres south of Port Macquarie, is in Warrnambool for the first time as she cranks up her bid for Commonwealth Games selection.

The 26-year-old, who has deferred her final two units of a law degree to concentrate on March’s national titles, which double as the Commonwealth Games selection trials, is looking for quality sparring.

After 34 wins from 45 amateur fights, the 60-kilogram boxer is one of Australia’s brightest Commonwealth Games prospects.

It’s a major divergence from the path she set out on.

“Apparently I told my mum when I was 11 (I wanted to be a lawyer),” the four-time NSW champion said.

She has put plans to become a barrister firmly on hold as she chases her boxing dreams.

Boxing For Bryn captured her heart. 

“I want to get in there, have some fun and raise some money,’’ she said.  

She will spar with Victorian champion Taylah Gentzen.

Sam Soliman and Shelley Watts are helping raise money for injured Warrnambool man Bryn Murphy.

Sam Soliman and Shelley Watts are helping raise money for injured Warrnambool man Bryn Murphy.


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