By Adrian Warren
Daniel Geale's team is still battling to find a suitable foreign sparring partner to help him prepare for his massive middleweight boxing world title unification bout against Felix Sturm in Germany.
IBF champion Geale (27-1, 15 KOs) will take on WBA super champion Sturm (37-2-2, 16 KOs) in Oberhausen on September 1 in one of the most prestigious fights involving an Australian boxer in recent years.
Geale has been getting good work with local talent in veteran and former super middleweight world title contender Nader Hamdan and unbeaten rising stars Rocky Jerkic and Ben McCulloch.
Trying to import the right fighter to top off his preparations for the tricky German has proven a tough exercise.
"We've tried extremely hard," Geale said. "At different times, my team have secured different sparring partners and unfortunately we've had about three or or four that have fallen through on us, which is what happens sometimes.
"It's a little bit frustrating. It would have been good, and I think we are still planning to get somebody to come over.
"Trying to find a perfect guy that is is in good condition as well can be very difficult.
"There's not too many fighters around the world that are too similar to Sturm.
"He is a very good defensive fighter with very good basic skills, but we have been using a few different guys that have been really good for us."
Geale got his first close up look at Sturm when he travelled to Germany for a recent press conference and promotional shoot.
Sturm is listed as three centimetres taller than the Australian.
"But standing next to him, it felt very similar, there's not much difference in height," Geale said.
"I think reach is very similar as well. It's a very evenly matched fight.
"You'd have to edge him for experience, but I'm definitely a little bit younger and a little bit more hungry, I think."
Sturm, who is unbeaten in his last 14 fights stretching over six years, has lost only once in Germany and has never dropped a decision in his own country.
Having already won a points decision against a German in Germany, when he dethroned Sebastian Sylvester 15 months ago, Geale wasn't worried worried about the possibility of going the distance against Sturm.
"I think most people in my position would be a little bit more nervous, a little bit more apprehensive, but having had experience behind us we're very confident we know exactly what we need to do," Geale said.
"Knowing that I've got a great team around me, it definitely does keep the playing field as even as possible.