By Adrian Warren
Daniel Geale heads into his middleweight boxing world title unification bout with German superstar Felix Sturm armed with the most knowledge he has ever accumulated about any opponent.
IBF champion Geale left Sydney on Thursday for Germany, where he will fight the WBA Super champion in Sturm's home state of Nordrhein-Westfalen on September 1.
Sturm (37-2-2, 16 KOs) is ranked the No.1 contender in the esteemed Ring rankings, one place ahead of Geale (27-1, 15 KOs).
The German has never dropped a points decision in his own country and is unbeaten in his last 12 bouts since his only defeat at home, a 10th-round stoppage loss to Spaniard Javier Castillejo.
His only other loss was the controversial points decision he dropped to Oscar de la Hoya in Las Vegas eight years ago.
"He (Sturm) has been a guy that's been at the top for a long long time, so it's been much easier to study on the guy," Geale told AAP.
"I've probably seen 10 of his fights, most recently I've seen probably four or five.
"There is a reason he's been at the top for a long time as well, he's a very skilful defensive fighter.
"We've got plans and strategies to try and combat that."
Geale wasn't fazed at not being able to find a sparring partner capable of duplicating Sturm's style.
"We used different guys for their different abilities, we think it worked out pretty well," Geale said.
Geale is under no illusion about the task he faces, but won his world title in Germany off Sebastian Sylvester and has the happy knack of lifting to the level of his opposition.
He senses 33-year-old Sturm might just be slightly past his prime, but still regards him as the toughest opponent of his career.
"We know it's not going to be an easy fight," Geale said.
"He's proved in his last couple of fights, he's not where he used to be.
"That could go either way. That could put pressure on him to make sure he has a big fight against an up and coming fighter that is getting his name out there.
"But in saying that he may be lacking that little bit extra now, he's getting a little bit older and that's where I come in.
"The better the opponent, the better I fight."