By Craig Watt
For the last few years, controversial former two-time 168 pound WBA champion Anthony Mundine (35-3, 23KO’s) has been Australia’s marquee fighter and grabbed most of the country’s TV and written boxing space. Often he is the man to be hated due to his controversial views and outspoken nature. However, in IBO middleweight champion Daniel Geale (21-0, 13KO’s) there is a boxer with a superb amateur pedigree and an unbeaten professional record that could just be in the wrong place at the wrong time for Mundine. The 28-year-old unbeaten Geale, hailing from Tasmania puts his IBO middleweight title on the line at the Entertainment Centre in Brisbane on May 27th in the most eagerly awaited fight in Australia in 2009 thus far.
When Mundine outpointed experienced Shannon Taylor in February this year he cemented his position as the WBA#1 mandatory position at 160 pounds and is aiming to take on WBA champion Felix Sturm later in 2009. Then, Australia’s biggest revenue fight beckons with former WBA light-heavyweight title Danny Green coming out of retirement for a grudge re-match of their 2006 fight in Sydney which reportedly earned each fighter in the region of $5m and was fought in excess of 35,000 fans at the Sydney Stadium. This fight has already been pencilled in for early 2010. If however Daniel Geale performs near or above his potential many believe he could, in boxing terms, “spoil the party”.
Daniel Geale is still relatively unknown inside his native Australia and has quietly built up an impressive unbeaten record of 21-0 with 13 wins inside the distance. Indeed, in his last fight he showed excellent power in knocking out experienced Canadian Ian Mackillop inside two minutes of the first round with some excellent power shots. He won the IBO 160 pound title in December 2007 when he defeated fellow Australian Daniel Dawson who was holding an unbeaten 29-0 record as they entered the fight. Geale boxed impressively and dominated the fight winning virtually every round on the scorecards.
In his first defense of the IBO title in June 2008 he showed excellent boxing skills again out pointing dangerous Serbian Geard Ajetovic in Campbelltown, Sydney and then in December 2008 he showed determination and courage in rising off the canvas in the eighth round against Daniel McKinnon to win a unanimous decision over ten rounds in a non-title bout.
In his reign as IBO champion, Geale has shown all his boxing pedigree with controlled boxing, powerful knockdowns and an ability to rise up off the canvas and find a winning solution when under boxing pressure. He may need all these attributes against the experienced Mundine who has been involved in eleven world title fights and his only defeats have come against respected champions Mikkel Kessler, Sven Ottke and Manny Siaca.
With just a week to go until his big opportunity the unbeaten 28 year old Geale is very confident about the outcome of the fight and the opportunity it represents. He told Fox Sports News this week, “ Anthony is a good fighter, don’t get me wrong. He has been in there with some good fighters and done well but I guess he has been there a long time and nearing the end a little bit. I am 28 years old and in my prime. I am young, I am hungry and in the best shape of my life. I just can’t wait to get in there.”
He continued, “I won’t be intimidated by the high profile of the fight here in Australia. I am a pretty relaxed sort of guy and pretty casual and I will take things as they come. I have fought in front of a few big crowds before and fought in Manchester at the 2002 Commonwealth Games when I won a Gold medal so this profile is not going to be a completely new thing to me. I am just going to go out there and make a good fist of it and stick to my plan. I know what I have to do and when the time comes and the opportunity is there I am going to take it.”
Perhaps the pedigree of the confident Geale is understood by WBA#1 Mundine who has been remarkably quiet and respectful of the IBO champion’s abilities in the build up. The “Trash” talking has been replaced by a considered response to the unbeaten Tasmanian fighter.
Mundine stated at the press conference to announce the fight, “Daniel is a good little fighter with a great amateur background and I will not under estimate him and his abilities. But, I am the best. I am the Man. I am not going to under prepare as he is not unbeaten for nothing. But me at my best, not Geale, not Sturm, not any of them can match it with me.”
Many are predicting a shock victory for Geale who could be too young, too fast and too hungry for Mundine who is fighting at middleweight when most of his success has been at 168 pounds. Rumours suggest that the former WBA 168 pound champion is struggling to make the 160 pound championship weight limit which could play into the hands of Geale, who is a natural middleweight and possesses good power.
Whatever the outcome, the stakes are high in this “must win” fight for both fighter.
The fight will be shown live in Australia on PPV via Main Events on May 27th from the Entertainment Centre in Brisbane and the promotion will start from 6.30pm AEDT.