Australia’s unified world boxing champion Daniel Geale has been left feeling shafted – after he was stripped of one of his belts before he has even received it.
The 31-year-old became the World Boxing Association’s ‘super champion’ with his split-decision points win over title-holder Felix Sturm in Germany on September 1.
But because Geale has opted for a big-money domestic rematch with Anthony Mundine instead of a clash with his mandatory challenger Gennardy Golovkin, the WBA has ditched Geale as its 160lb (72.64kg) flag-bearer.
The Sydney-based Tasmanian, who will defend his IBF title against Mundine, described the decision as a “slap in the face” and his disappointment is understandable – Kazakhstan fighter Golovkin became the WBA’s ‘regular’ champion in October 2010 yet they allowed him and Sturm to both stand as champions for the past two years, until Geale dethroned the German.
The WBA also recognises three champions in the featherweight division – Chris John is the ‘super’ champion, Nicolas Waters takes on Daulis Prescott for the ‘regular’ title, while Javier Fortuna and Patrick Hyland meet for the ‘interm’ crown!
No wonder Geale is peeved.
“The most frustrating part is we were forced to carry over time from Felix Sturm,” Geale told thewest.com.au today. “Because he never fought his mandatory defence I have been forced to carry over some of his time.
“It’s only two months since I won the title – and the worst thing is I haven’t even received my belt in the mail yet.
“It’s terrible, a real slap in the face. It’s crap the way it’s been handled, I haven’t even been able to enjoy (holding) the belt. But I'll get it, it's my belt."
Geale said the ruling highlighted how difficult it was for boxing to have unified champions. And he said it has made him look at other fighters differently.
“We sort of know organisations don’t want unified champions because it doesn’t suit them financially,” he said.
“Fighters and fans want it, they want to see the best fighters fighting each other, but it’s very difficult.
“It definitely makes me question my opinions of lot of people and how they have shaped their careers. The way it’s been done it devalues what a world champion is.
“I have been working my butt off, and my management and the people at Grange (Old School Boxing, where Geale trains) have been working their butts off. But this only motivates me more. They can take the title off me but I’ll win it again.
“However, the WBA definitely did the wrong thing by us and if I have other options (then I’d maybe consider them first). The IBF has been excellent with me.
“We’re getting this next fight (Mundine) out of the way. After that we will definitely have massive opportunities.
“We’ve been chasing (Julio) Chavez Jr and (WBC champion Sergio) Martinez that will definitely happen some time.”
Geale, whose record is 28 wins (15 early) and one loss, will announce the date and venue for his fight with Mundine next Thursday, with it almost certainly being in Sydney, probably on Wednesday, January 23 or 30.
Interest in the rematch – Mundine won their first encounter by split decision in 2009 – is set to make this Australia’s biggest bout since Mundine’s meeting with Danny Green three years earlier.
Mundine captured the headlines in typical fashion last month with his disparaging comments about Geale’s Aboriginal heritage and family, something which he has since apologised for.
“He knew he overstepped the line but it’s what I’ve come to expect,” Geale said.
“The only thing I was really angry about was what he said about my family and friends … he will pay for that.
“… The support has been unbelievable.
“A lot of guys are coming up to me and saying go and beat him – and some a lot more animated and using a lot more colourful language! And I’ve had a lot of ladies, many of who don’t like boxing much, saying they hope I shut him up.
“Sometime you get a nice young girl and they’ll say ‘I hope you knock that “f” and ‘c” out! I really don’t know how to take those things.“But it’s certainly getting a lot of people interested.”