By Jake Donovan
Former middleweight titlist Daniel Geale is set to return to the ring February 19, when he will face countryman Garth Wood in Sydney, Australia.
The fight will mark the first ring appearance for Geale (29-2, 15KO) since losing his title to Darren Barker in their 12-round thriller last August in the United States.
The Aussie middleweight was making his stateside and HBO debut, and appeared well on his way to a spectacular knockout victory, dropping Barker midway through the sixth round. The round was regarded as one of the year’s best, though mainly due to Barker barely beating the count and rallying hard to bring the action back on even terms, before surging ahead late in the fight.
Geale, who turns 33 one week after the scheduled bout with Wood, has spent the majority of his career in his native Australia, though the two titles he’s won thus far have both come on the road in Germany. His title reign began with a hard fought – though strangely scored – 12-round win over Sebastian Sylvester in May 2011, making four successful defenses over the next two years.
Included among the lot was his split decision nod over Felix Sturm in their Sept. 2012 middleweight title unification bout in Germany. The belt Geale lifted from Sturm that evening didn’t travel very far, as he was a single-belt titlist by his next fight, claiming a unanimous decision win over countryman Anthony Mundine last January in their massive local event in Sydney.
The showdown with Wood marks Geale’s first non-title fight in nearly three years.
Wood (12-3-1, 8KO) first gained prominence for winning “Australian Contender”, a boxing reality show modeled after the now-defunct series which ran in the United States. The Australian version which Wood came on top ran during the 2009-10 television season.
However, it was his shocking 5th round knockout of Mundine in Dec. 2010 that made him a household name. The win remains his greatest accomplishment to date, going on to lose a competitive decision to Mundine in their April 2011 rematch, followed by a less competitive points loss to Sam Soliman two years ago.
Wood has since won two straight, but has not fought since last May.
The scheduled middleweight affair will air on pay-per-view in Australia.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox Tags: Garth Wood , Daniel Geale , Geale-Wood , Geale vs Wood