New Faces: Sam Goodman
Hometown: Albion Park, New South Wales, Australia
Weight class: Junior featherweight
Height: 5-foot-6½ (169 cm)
Amateur career: Over 100 fights
Turned pro: 2018
Pro record: 13-0 (7 knockouts)
Trainer: Joel Keegan
Manager: Peter Metrevski
Promoter: No Limit Boxing Promotions
Best night of pro career and why: Goodman feels he showed some of his potential when he stopped a former world title challenger in eight rounds last July.
“I think my most clinical performance was against Juan Miguel Elorde,” Goodman told The Ring. “He fought Emanuel Navarrete for the WBO [junior featherweight] world title. He’s been around and I made pretty easy work of him. It was a real disciplined performance. I probably could have got him out a little earlier than what I did, but it was very calculated.”
Worst night of pro career and why: Early in the 24-year-old’s professional career, he was taken the distance by Richard Lockett. He won a shutout on two of the scorecards and five rounds to three on the third card.
“[I was] was going up a couple of weight divisions and I still expected to walk through the bloke, and it’s different [when you fight in higher weight classes,]” he explained. “I could have been a bit more polished. It was the start of my pro career and I was young, and you make mistakes along the way.”
What’s Next: Goodman will step up in class when he faces former 122-pound titleholder TJ Doheny on the undercard of Tim Tszyu-Tony Harrison at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia, on Sunday (Saturday in the U.S.).
“It’s a good fight. It’s definitely my biggest test,” admitted Goodman. “TJ has been around, and at the highest level of the sport. But look, I’m pretty confident in my skill set and what I bring to the ring. I think it’s going to be too much for TJ. I’ve had a big amateur background. I’m 13 fights into my pro career and I think I’ve got the tools to really put a hurting on this guy.”
Doheny (23-3, 17 KOs) was born in Ireland but moved to Australia and turned professional in 2012. He won his first 13 fights before appearing in America. The southpaw’s big break came when he went to Japan and bested IBF junior featherweight Ryosuke Iwasa (UD 12) in August 2018. After one defense, he lost in a unification contest against WBA counterpart Daniel Roman (MD 12).
Since then, the 36-year-old’s form has become patchy, going 2-2. However, it should be noted that the defeats were against Ionut Baluta (UD 8) and Michael Conlan (UD 12).
Why he’s a prospect: Goodman was a talented amateur who dominated domestically, winning four national titles, and gained valuable experience internationally, culminating in an appearance at the 2017 World Championships in Hamburg, Germany.
“I had a pretty extensive background in the amateurs, fighting every week since I was 10 years old,” he said. “I was either doing exhibition bouts or competitions.”
Goodman wanted to represent Australia at the 2020 Olympics, but it wasn’t meant to be.
“I was caught between cycles,” he explained. “I was doing tournament after tournament as an amateur, and my aspirations were always to go and have a longer pro career.
“Going professional was always something since I was a young boy I had my heart set on. It gave me that extra drive in my training as my role as a boxer. I definitely thought turning pro was the right career move, and I’ve never looked back.”
Goodman had been scheduled to be on Tszyu’s undercard at the end of January, when Tszyu was scheduled to face Jermell Charlo. Although that fight was canceled, Goodman was still able to travel to Los Angeles and get some productive sparring.
“We only found out two days before we were meant to go over and finish off our camp. We still thought we’d go [to America] and get the work in,” he said. “I got to spar ‘Bam’ [Jesse] Rodriguez, plenty of rounds with [junior featherweight contender] Azat Hovhannisyan, Jalan Walker, an 11-0-1 pro. [We got to spar at] the best gyms in L.A.
“That’s the difference, when you go to America; there’s so many quality fighters around, it’s not that hard to find good sparring. They were all ringing up asking for us to come back and get the work in, so we were doing something right over there.”
“My boxing brain is definitely my biggest weapon in the ring.”
When he was younger, Goodman went to England and sparred with former two-time world champion Paul Butler. He’s also sparred most of the top fighters in and around his weight class at home, including Liam Wilson, the Moloney brothers, Luke Jackson and Billy Dib.
Goodman feels his I.Q. has separated him from the competition so far.
“My thought process and knowing my style real well, I think I know how to get fighters to fight to my rhythm and fight to my pace; it’s how I work people out,” he said. “I think they have to adjust to me, more so than I have to adjust to them, because of what I do. My boxing brain is definitely my biggest weapon in the ring.”
Former two-time bantamweight world title challenger Jason Moloney has spent time training and sparring with Goodman and is well-placed to assess his ability.
“I think Sam is a huge talent,” said Moloney. “I’ve done a bit of sparring with Sam in the past, and it’s always great work. I’ve always rated Sam highly and felt that he has a big future ahead of him.
“He’s a very smart and skilled boxer with good speed and a great control of distance.
“I’m really looking forward to watching his next fight against Doheny and seeing him up against world-level competition. I think we will find out a lot from this fight. But in my opinion, I think Sam has the potential to go all the way and become world champion.”
Why he’s a suspect: Goodman knows he needs to improve his all-around game to reach the highest level. And by going to train in the U.S. and face rivals like Doheny, he is giving himself the best opportunity he can.
“You’re forever learning in this game; the day you think you’re done learning, you slip up,” he said. “[You’re] constantly learning, constantly evolving and trying to get better.
“I think it’s just a matter of getting the experience in with these bigger fighters and testing myself at the highest level. My next fight against TJ, he’s been at that level. We’ll learn a lot more along the way with these fights because they’re the ones that teach you the most.”
How far Goodman can go in the pro ranks is still to be decided. He should be applauded for traveling to America and going around the gyms of L.A. to gain high-level sparring — that can only be a good thing. He’s in a tough division and will have to make the right steps at the right time. He’s only 24, so there is no need to rush him.
How he deals with Doheny will go a long way in molding his short-term career. Win and dominate, he and his team can look to push onwards; win and struggle, and perhaps his team reigns things in. A defeat would be a difficult to take, because Goodman is on the way up while the perception is that Doheny has seen better days.
Moloney doesn’t feel Goodman needs to work on much, but as with everyone there are things to improve.
“I think Sam just needs the invaluable experience of fighting world-level opponents,” explained Moloney. “He has looked great in his first 13 fights, and I think he’s shown that he’s ready for the real tests.
“There are some great fights for him at the top of the 122-pound division. Unfortunately for him and many others, a man named Naoya Inoue just entered the division. I still think Sam will have a lot of success.”
Storylines: Goodman had a good upbringing in Albion Park, a suburb of Shellharbour, New South Wales.
“I started boxing to get fit for Australian football and I loved boxing pretty much from when I started it,” he explained. “I ended up having my first fight and gave up the footie and it was all boxing.”
He lists Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. as his early boxing heroes. He says that changed as he got older, though.
“I was blown away by [Vasiliy] Lomachenko after the 2012 Olympics,” he said of the three-weight world champion’s mesmeric performances. “From about 14, it’s been Lomachenko. I loved [Ring, IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr] Usyk as well. Those guys are on another level and so great to watch. Also, [WBA light heavyweight titlist] Dmitry Bivol.”
Goodman hopes to connect with fans the way countrymen Jeff Horn and George Kambosos Jr. have, and he feels things are moving in that direction.
“I know I’ve got to keep bringing the people into my fights and putting on good performances, which will allow me to do that,” he said. “I’m tied into the footie club in Albion Park and they all rally behind me. I’m pretty blessed to have the support I do.
“I’ve got aspirations to win world titles and make a good living from the sport. That’s what I’m about. That’s what you do it for. It’s prizefighting, and I want the biggest prizes in the sport.”
His is a life dominated by his chosen profession, but Goodman says he also makes time for things outside of boxing.
“I’ve got my mates I hang out with every now and then,” he said. “A little bit of motor bike riding; I like to get out on the Ducati every now and then when I get a chance. I try to stay off it when I’m close to a fight. And maybe watching the horses and having a punt (bet) on a Saturday.”
Oct. 8 – Jason Cooper – UD 10
July 20 – Juan Miguel Elorde – TKO 8
May 11 – Fumiya Fuse – UD 10
Dec. 22 – Richie Mepranum – TKO 6
June 16 – Nort Beauchamp – TKO 6
April 10 – Daniel Carr – UD 6
March 7 – Noldi Manakane – TKO 1
Nov. 16 – Sunardi Gamboa – TKO 3
July 27 – Claudevan Sese – TKO 3
Mar. 29 – Simplice Fotsala – UD 6
Oct. 27 – Shamal Ram Anuj – UD 6
Aug. 19 – Richard Lockett – UD 8
April 13 – Worawatchai Boonjan – TKO 2
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].