of the most anticipated fights of the year takes place on 15th September between Julio Cesar
Chavez Jnr. and Sergio Martinez
for the WBC and lineal middleweight titles. However, it’s not the only noteworthy
middleweight fight on tap; we also have the WBA/IBF title unification between
Felix Sturm and Daniel Geale in Oberhausen on 1 September. It looks like the
perfect appetiser in the ever-improving division with the winner well positioned for even bigger things. Even
the loser can fit right back into the mix. At 31, the Tasmanian-born Geale is
in the prime of his career and going to Germany doesn’t faze him. He's 15 months removed from a previous trip to Germany
where he won a well-deserved split decision over then-champion
Sebastian Sylvester to claim the IBF crown. Since then, he’s defended his title
twice on home turf, taking his overall ledger to 27-1 with 15 inside the
distance. His promoter, Gary Shaw, comments on
his charge, “Daniel is a great human being and he is always mentally and
physically prepared to go to battle with anyone that steps in the ring
with him. He took the fight with Sturm with no hesitation because
he's always willing to fight the best and biggest challenges that are
presented to him. I think Daniel's relentlessness and will to win
will prevail him to victory in this fight.”
Anson Wainwright - You’ll be
fighting Felix Sturm in title unification on 1 September in Germany.
Could you share your thoughts on that fight?
Daniel Geale - I'm really looking
forward to the bout. I only ever take a week or so off after a fight and this
preparation is coming along well.
AW - What do you see as Sturm's
strengths and what areas of his game do you believe you can exploit? What was
your thinking in taking on Sturm?
DG - Felix has been on the radar since I
won the IBF strap. One of his greatest assets will be his mental strength as he
has defended his title 12 times on home soil against good opponents,
although he has not fought anyone like me and let’s face it; 13
is not a good number. As for his weaknesses and our strategy, you will have to
wait until the bell rings.
AW - Originally you were due to face WBO
titlist Dmitry Pirog. What happened to that fight?
DG - You would have to ask my management;
all I know is that it fell over.
AW - Your most recent fight was a
decision win over your mandatory challenger Osumanu Adama; it was relatively
wide on the scorecards. Can you tell us about the fight?
DG - I thought we put on a bout worthy
of a mandatory challenge. Osumanu didn't bring his usual come-forward style into
the ring, so I adapted and did what was necessary to win the fight.
AW - That was your second title defence
since you beat Sebastian Sylvester just over a year ago. Could you tell us
about going into the lions’ den and what that was like?
DG - It was a little surreal to be
surrounded by thousands of disappointed German fans after the
announcement. However, we were treated exceptionally well before, during
and after the bout by everyone involved, including Sebastian, who raised my
hand in defeat. I'm really looking forward to returning.
AW - Germany is known to be a tough place
to go with Matthew Macklin and Martin Murray coming up short in title challenges
when many believed they had won. Can you tell us about your mindset when it had
gone the distance? How did it feel when they announced you had won?
DG - I thought I had been busy and
effective enough to take the fight but still there were very long minutes
waiting for the decision. Stories about how hard it is getting a result in
Germany were in the back of my mind but I leave all that to people around
I am surrounded by an A-class team and
with Gary Shaw on board to ensure the playing field was level in
Germany, all that was left to do was perform as best I could. When the
decision came in, outside of meeting my wife and seeing my kids born, it was
the greatest moment of my life.
AW - Who are the key members of your team
and how long have you been with them?
DG - I have been with the team at Grange
Old School Boxing for eight years. It is owned by Bill Treacy, managed by
Garrie Francisco and the head trainer is Graham Shaw and we have an amateur
team of around 80 which I am lucky enough to coach. We sort of have a “No
Superstars” policy where everyone who comes through the door is an equal. They
have been Australia's best promoters for years and since teaming up with Gary
Shaw, it has given local fighters fresh inspiration to be the best they
AW - Have you ever travelled away from
Australia to train? Can you tell us about that?
DG - I was lucky enough to travel a fair
bit representing my country as an amateur and have had a fair bit experience in
different countries and I don't mind fighting in opponent’s backyards as being
the crowd’s underdog spurs me on.
AW - The lone loss of your career is to Anthony
Mundine three years ago. Is a rematch something you would like?
DG - I was keen to fight him again but
Anthony vacated [his IBO middleweight strap] when the rematch was ordered. I
think that says it all.
AW - What are your thoughts on the middleweight
division at the moment? What do you think of the other champions like the WBC’s
Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr., Sturm and WBA “regular” champ Gennady Golovkin? Who do
you consider the top five at 160?
DG – Potentially, I think we have the
most dynamic division in the sport at the moment when you add Sergio Martinez,
Dmitry Pirog and myself to the list above. Then fighting each other to
determine exactly who is the boss is what boxing is all about for me and a
dream come true.
AW - What did you think of the Chavez-Andy
Lee, Sturm-Sebastian Zbik and Martinez-Macklin fights? How do you see
DG - Chavez v Lee was pretty much as
expected. Sturm v Zbik showed that you never underestimate a champion. Chavez v
Martinez is a fight that had to happen and should be a great fight with no
clear winner in that bout.
AW - In closing, do you have anything
you’d like to say to Felix Sturm?
DG - No, not really. I do all my talking with
my fists in the ring.