By Jake Donovan
Daniel Geale received a hero’s welcome leading into his main event bout and responded in kind with a wide unanimous decision win over Osamanu Adama in their middleweight bout Wednesday evening at the Derwent Entertainment Center in Hobart, Tasmania.
Scores were 118-110, 117-111 and a surprisingly close 115-113 in favor of the Tasmania-born defending titlist.
Most of the opening round action took place in center ring. Adamu began early on working behind his while constantly circling to his left. Geale needed mere seconds to figure out his opponent and immediately took control of the fight, largely on the strength of his own jab.
Geale turned to footwork and aggression to turn up the heat in the second round. Right hands and leaping left hooks forced Adamu to fight on his heels, allowing Geale to fight at his leisure. The Aussie was slick on the defensive side, sliding and leaping out of harm’s way the moment Adamu attempted to return fire.
A battle of the jabs resumed in the third before Geale decided to make more of a fight of it in the fourth. The closest either fight came to a knockdown occurred when Adamu lost his footing in the midst of an exchange, his legs kicking out as if he were standing on a sheet of ice. The sequence was correctly ruled a slip, but Geale treated it as a momentum builder and piled up points.
Adamu remained in positive spirits even as he was falling behind. The Ghana-born fighter – now based out of Chicago – sported a wide grin as he came out jabbing in the fifth round. It wasn’t enough to take immediate control of the fight, but served its purpose in stalling Geale’s attack. The tactic provided an opening for a tide-turning sixth round, scoring to the body and keeping Geale off balance.
Both fighters appeared to lose steam as action headed towards the second half of the bout. Geale enjoyed success in a counterpunching capacity in the middle rounds, scoring with right hands while slipping Adamu’s head shots.
After all but giving away two straight rounds, Adamu opened up in the ninth round. A right hand to the body froze Geale but wasn’t followed up with anything other than lateral movement. Geale quickly regained momentum, forcing the challenger into a corner though not landing anything of conviction.
The 10th round saw Adamu fall deeper into a hole, resulting in a severe tongue lashing from his trainer in efforts to light a fire and dig deep for something dramatic. The fighter responded in kind, coming out strong to start the 11th round. Stamina appeared to be a factor, however as Adamu went into retreat mode. Geale tried to make something happen, but an attempted right hand instead turned into a shove to the canvas.
Though the action didn’t quite match the enthusiasm, the crowd was up on its feet for the duration of the 12th and final round. Geale fought conservatively, jabbing out of a high guard. Adamu appeared determined in spirit but lacking in ability as he just couldn’t get off his punches.
The final bell sounded as both fighters were paraded around the ring in celebration, though Adamu wasn’t particularly convincing in his sell that he won the fight. The scores confirmed it, though the visiting fighter pulled closer than expected on one card.
“That was a tough fight. You got to give Adamu credit, he came to fight,” Geale admitted moments after scoring his sixth straight win to improve to 27-1 (15KO).
The bout didn’t quite go as expected for Geale, who was making the second defense of the belt he acquired on the road against Sebastian Sylvester last May. The Aussie expected to have to fend off a more determined challenger, rather than having to outthink him and force the action. So goes the life of a defending titlist.
“I expected Adamu to put the pressure on me,” Geale stated afterward, partially bewildered over Adamu - now 20-3 (15KO) after falling short in his first title bid – changing strategies from his past few fights. “He didn’t do that, so we applied the pressure on him. That’s how us Tasmanians do it.”
As is the case with any alphabet title in an era where dozens of fighters at a time claim to be the division champ, attention quickly turned to what was in the near future for the crowd favorite.
“I want any of (the champions), all of them.”
Featherweight titlist Billy Dib (34-1, 21KO) made his second successful defense in the evening’s co-feature, scoring a seventh round stoppage of fringe contender Eduardo Escobedo (32-4, 23KO). Dib was docked a point for holding and hitting and was threatened with the possibility of a disqualification. However, Escobedo made it easy on him by not fighting back and ultimately quitting on his stool prior to the start of the seventh.
Former heavyweight title challenger Kali Maheen moves one step closer to retirement after suffering a sixth round knockout at the hands of Travis Walker. The fight was toe-to-toe action for as long as it lasted, but the 41-year old Meehan (38-5, 31KO) eventually gave in as Walker (39-7-1, 31KO) unloaded in the sixth to prompt the stoppage.
In the opening televised opener, Alex Ahtong pulled off a mild surprise with a six-round unanimous decision over homegrown Steven Maxwell. No scores were announced for their six-round welterweight bout, but Ahtong (8-13-1, 5KO) was the aggressor throughout the contest as Maxwell (11-6, 6KO) was simply outworked in what was a terrific war.
Full undercard report can be found here:
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]