News October 2015

RIP Sinan Samil Sam 1974-2015


By Michael J Jones

THE BOXING world was reeling last night at the tragic news of the death of former heavyweight contender Sinan Samil Sam. The Germany-born Turk was just 41-years-old and died of liver failure in hospital in Istanbul.

A former amateur star who became a world champion as both a junior and senior boxer, Samil Sam turned pro in April 2000 and within two years had forged a 15 bout unbeaten record. The winning streak lead to a European title shot against Przemyslaw Saleta with Sinan winning via seven-round knock-out.

For his first defence, the “Bull from Bosporus” would tackle in-form Englishman Danny Williams in a dangerous-looking match. Williams had avenged his only defeat to Julius Francis and was the reigning British and Commonwealth champion but Samil Sam would prove the better fighter on the night.

Williams, who had never previously been floored prior to the bout, was unable to avoid the hammer-like right-hand of the European champion and was dropped on three occasions before the contest was halted in the sixth.

Later that year, Samil Sam would face former cruiserweight champion Juan Carlos Gomez over ten rounds in New York in a battle of undefeated fighters. Unfortunately, Gomez’ superior experience told and he would hand the Turkish boxer his first loss as a pro.

Five months later, in February 2004, the 6’3” Samil Sam would suffer a second loss when losing his European title in a close fight to Luan Krasniqi but would bounce back with six wins on the spin. The winning sequence would also include Sinan claiming his second pro title in the WBC International belt.

The good form was brought to an end by the come-backing Oleg Maskaev who won a surprisingly-wide points decision over the younger man. Three return victories and Samil Sam was matched with former world heavyweight champion Oliver McCall in a WBC eliminator. Sinan also had the benefit of facing the “Atomic Bull” in his native Turkey though it helped him little.

McCall, well into his 40’s but still capable and as durable as ever, used all of his toughness and experience to pound out a decision as Samil Sam’s world title hopes were gone forever.

The beaten man would box four more times and win them all. In his last bout in July 2008 he edged Italian Paolo Vidoz to reclaim the European title on a majority decision.

Samil Sam thus ended his boxing career with a fine 31-4 (16) record with the distinction of being the first ever Turkish boxer to win a European title above 140lbs. He never had the punch variety and skill needed for the very top but he was a solid all-rounder with a great right-hand and granite jaw. Three of his four defeats were to world champions and nobody managed to stop him.

After his boxing career had ended, the retired fighter piled on weight and turned to alcohol which ultimately lead to his premature death. In December 2010, the struggling former fighter was rushed into hospital where his liver condition was discovered. He was awaiting a liver transplant when his condition worsened with fatal consequences.

Sinan Samil Sam will be buried this week in Ankara.

RIP Sinan Samil Sam the “Bull from Bosporus” 1974-2015

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