Former world middleweight boxing champion Felix Sturm of Germany has lost to another Australian after Sam Soliman claimed a unanimous points victory in their IBF middleweight title eliminator.
Sturm, 34, suffered a second consecutive defeat in Duesseldorf on Friday night having lost his WBA crown to Australia's Daniel Geale last September.
The former champion suffered the fourth loss of his career after a plucky display by Soliman, to whom the judges awarded the fight 116-111, 114-113, 114-113, to give the 39-year-old Australian a record of 43 wins, 17 KOs and 11 defeats.
The German had needed to win the bout to become the IBF number-one challenger in order to secure a rematch against Geale, who beat compatriot Anthony Mundine in Sydney last Wednesday, but Soliman is now set for a crack at the IBF title.
"I can't get inside the judges' heads, I am just a boxer," said a disappointed Sturm after his defeat.
The German had dominated the first three rounds, catching Soliman with several right-hand shots, one of which dropped him to the canvas midway through the second, before the Australian rallied.
Soliman has said he is prepared to fight Geale "anywhere, any place, any time" and his victory was the third straight by an Australian middleweight in Germany after Geale's victories over Sturm and Sebastian Sylvester in 2011.
German middleweight Felix Sturm attends a news conference on January 28, 2013 in Duesseldorf, western Germany. The former world middleweight boxing champion has lost to another Australian after Sam Soliman claimed a unanimous points victory in their IBF middleweight title eliminator.