AUSTRALIA’S NEW UNIFIED IBF and WBA middleweight world champion Daniel Geale has said he is weighing up his options after the “fight of his life” in his split-decision win over Felix Sturm.
Geale, 31, unified the titles in Oberhausen last night after taking Sturm’s WBA Super world crown by inflicting the German’s first defeat since 2006.
Having already won once in Germany when he took the IBF title from home favourite Sebastian Sylvester in May 2011, Geale returned to Europe to end Sturm’s run after 12 defences of the title he had held since April 2007.
“What can I say? That was exactly how we planned it,” said Tasmania-born Geale. We knew from day one that was going to be a hell of a fight, and it was.
“There is a reason he has been a champion for so long and there is a reason he’s defended his title for so long. We knew I had to come over here and give the fight of my life.
“I have worked so hard, spent so much time in the gym and sacrificed so much, just to put myself in this position.”
Geale has no shortage of fighters now eager to take a crack at his titles.
The World Boxing Association (WBA) has ordered Geale to face their regular champion Gennady Golovkin of Kazakhstan, who earned a fifth-round technical knock-out against Poland’s Grzegorz Proksa in New York on Saturday.
The leading contender for his IBF title, fellow Australian Sam Soliman, is another possibility, as is the winner of the September 15 bout between Mexico’s WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez and Argentina’s Sergio Martinez.
“It’s very exciting, things are happening, but at this stage we are taking one step at a time,” said Geale, who immediately after the bout was offered a fight by England’s Commonwealth champion Martin Murray, who drew with Sturm in December.
“We have achieved one thing and we’ll take some time now to think about the next step.
“We’ll sit down as a team, we have a lot of decisions to make.”
The fight was decided by a split decision, with British judge Dave Parris and South Africa’s Stanley Christodoulou both scoring it 116-112 in Geale’s favour, while America’s Eugene Grant had Sturm ahead 116-112.
Prior to the fight, the German’s camp was so confident of winning they turned down the chance of writing a rematch clause into the contract.
Martin Meissner/AP/Press Association Images
This was the 28th win of Geale’s 29-fight career, with a 2009 split-decision defeat to compatriot Anthony Mundine his only loss.
It was Sturm’s first loss since he suffered a 10th-round technical knock-out in July 2006 against Spain’s Javier Castillejo.
After his defeat, Sturm paid tribute to Geale’s impressive display and promptly asked for a rematch.
“I have to accept the decision, that is boxing,” said the 33-year-old German, who suffered the third defeat of his 42-fight career.
“He did well, he boxed awesomely and gave his best and I simply have to accept it.
“It’s a bitter defeat, but I had my chances. I had a few people backing me, (Manchester City striker) Edin Dzeko flew here to support me. I hope to have a rematch, we’ll see.”