In a brisk, active and entertaining battle, Australian Sam Goodman (15-0, 7 KOs) used his jab and aggression to out-work and upset previously undefeated Ra’eese Aleem by split decision in an IBF 122-pound title eliminator in the night’s co-feature.
Goodman won by scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 112-116 to remain undefeated and move a step closer to a title shot, while Aleem dropped to 20-1 with 12 KOs.
Despite Aleem’s dedicated body attack, the judges rewarded Goodman’s forward-moving charge, especially in the second half of the fight when Goodman seemed to rev his offense into another gear. After his corner told him to pick it up, Goodman out-landed Aleem 78-61 in rounds 8-12 and won five of the last six rounds on two of the judges’ scorecards.
“That was tough early, he was awkward,” the 24-year-old Goodman said. “I’m so pumped, words can’t explain the work me and my team put into this. This is the start. My heart was through the roof [when I learned it was a split decision]. He’s a tough competitor. He comes in with awkward stuff. It was a big test. I knew early on I had to be smart and give him respect and I’d come through in the later rounds. We’re coming for those straps. We’re coming for them.”