By Adrian Warren
Daniel Geale has a myriad of enticing and dangerous options after creating boxing history by defeating Felix Sturm in Germany in their middleweight world title unification bout.
Geale, 31, added Sturm's WBA Super title to his IBF crown with a split decision 12-round points win in Oberhausen on Saturday.
The Sydney-based Tasmanian became the first Australian-born fighter to win two globally recognized major titles in the same division.
Members of his camp, including veteran American promoter Gary Shaw, were adamant Geale was also the first visiting fighter to twice take world titles off Germans fighters on their home soil.
Geale (28-1, 15 KOs) won the IBF title from Sebastian Sylvester in May in Germany last year and he produced another classy, assured and composed performance in Oberhausen.
"It's without a doubt his best performance," Geale's trainer Graham Shaw said.
Sturm (37-3-2. 16 KOs) started well, working off his renowned jab, but from the third round Geale started to land regularly in the inside exchanges.
Geale dominated the sixth and seventh rounds, and while Sturm tried to rally over the closing stages, Geale produced his trademark late surge to deny the German.
British official Dave Parris and South African Stanley Christodoulou both scored the fight 116-112 in Geale's favour, while American judge Eugene Grant had Sturm ahead 116-112.
"It was a very, very hard fight," Geale said. "I had to put plenty of pressure on him and take him out of his comfort zone.
Geale was hungry for more big fights and championship belts.
Boxing power broker Shaw outlined several options for him, including a possible move down a division to junior middleweight.
Among those heading the queue for a crack at Geale are Kazakhstan's big punching regular WBA middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin, who just a few hours after the fight in Germany demolished Poland's Grzegorz Proksa in five rounds in New York.
Another option is the winner of the September 15 bout between WBC champion Julio Cesar Chavez and Argentina's Sergio Martinez, who is widely considered the best middleweight in the world.
An all-Australian fight with Victorian Sam Soliman, the leading contender for his IBF title is another possibility.
Golovkin was at one stage set to fight Anthony Mundine, the only professional to beat Geale, but the Australian turned down the opportunity.
The WBA has ordered the winner the Geale-Sturm and Golovkin-Proksa fights to meet by December 3.
"We need to get a TV date, because without TV that fight is not going to happen," Shaw said.
"Daniel Geale has never run from any fight ever.
"We can possibly fight the winner of Chavez Jr and Martinez. We might take him down to junior middleweight and maybe win a world title there and then go back up to middleweight."
"Now we don't have to knock on anyone's door anymore. They are ringing our bells."
Sturm called Geale a great fighter and a true champion and asked for a rematch.
However, Sturm's camp were so confident of winning, they declined Shaw's offer of a rematch clause in the contract.