By Adrian Warren
Daniel Geale has declared his intention to drag German superstar Felix Sturm out of his comfort zone as he stands on the threshold of making Australian boxing history.
On Saturday at Oberhausen in Germany, IBF middleweight champion Geale will endeavour to become the first Australian-born boxer to unify two major globally-recognised titles in a division.
He must dethrone WBA Super champion Sturm (37-2-2, 16 KOs), who is unbeaten over 14 fights stretching back six years to his only loss in Germany, a 10th-round TKO by Spaniard Javier Castillejo.
The sole blot on Geale's record (27-1, 15 KOs) is a contentious 2009 points loss to compatriot Anthony Mundine. At 31, Geale, who has made two defences of the title he won in Germany from Sebastian Sylvester in May 2011, believes he is entering his prime.
"I feel my body is just that little bit stronger, but I think that the mental strength comes into it a lot as well," Geale told AAP from Germany.
"I believe I'm as mentally strong as I've ever been ... knowing that I can push through just about anything.
"I feel probably over the last 12 months or so, I've started to develop better accuracy.
"My strength is definitely better, so I feel that I'm getting better power out of my punches.
"I know back home, a few people know about Felix Sturm. He's got a bit of a reputation around the world, he has a great jab and his defence is very, very good.
"We've got to work around that. We've got to be smart - we've got to be willing to take him out of his comfort zone.
"I don't mind telling people that because that's pretty much common knowledge - that's the reason why he's won so many of his fights - because he has such a great jab and he's really, really hard to hit - let alone hurt."
Sturm 33, rates the unification fight as the biggest of his career, even above his 2004 bout with Oscar de la Hoya, which he lost on points.
He had plenty of complimentary things to say about Geale, but said he planned to make the Australian pay for his mistakes.
"He is a great fighter but I'm quite sure that I'll win on Saturday night," Sturm said.
"Daniel can move, he can box and he can put pressure on you.
"I'm sure he will have a great game plan as well, but we will see if he will be able to follow this plan with me opposite him."
A heavy work rate over 12 rounds will be a cornerstone of Geale's strategy.
"Daniel is ready for 12 fast-paced rounds - high work rate. You've got to win every round - that's the plan," Geale's trainer Graham Shaw told AAP.