SYDNEY, Australia — Daniel "The Real Deal" Geale was just that on Wednesday.
The former IBF middleweight beltholder took the first big step towards returning to the title hunt by beating up and stopping former Australian Contender winner Garth Wood after six rounds. Geale (30-2, 16 knockouts) did his best to erase all the doubts which were created by his narrow decision loss to England's Darren Barker last year.
Round 1 started off with a bang as Geale controlled the pace with his combination punching. Late in the round, Geale trapped Wood in the corner and dropped him with a right hand followed by a flurry of punches. Wood struggled to survive and was barely standing when he was saved by the bell.
Round 2 saw Wood do more acting than fighting. On two occasions during the round, Wood complained to the referee about punches that where nowhere near low. The second complaint prompted the referee to deduct a point from Geale. Wood looked badly gassed and used the chance to catch his breath.
In Round 3, Geale's superior footwork and defense were on display. Many times throughout the round, Geale made Wood look like an amateur. Midway through the round Geale slipped a punch and tagged Wood with a hard right to the temple which stunned him badly.
Wood (12-4-1, 8 KOs) finally began to show signs of life in Round 4 as he started to let his hands go. Geale gave as good as he was given in an even round.
Round 5 looked to be more of the same until the final 30 seconds. Geale lowered Wood's hands with a jab and dropped him hard with a straight right hand. Wood barely beat the count and was once again saved by the bell. The referee failed to hear the bell and allowed Geale to land about give punches after the round was over.
Geale began to really step on the gas in Round 6, clearly looking for the stoppage. Wood managed to stay on his feet, but was finally knocked down late in the round. As the bell sounded, Wood stumbled into the ropes signifying the end. The referee waved the fight off, saving Wood any further punishment.
In the post-fight interview, Geale addressed the animosity leading into the fight. As usual Geale was very classy in his responses. He made it a point to call out the hard-punching WBA champion Gennady Golovkin after the fight, stating that he "hopes Golovkin is next".
Whether Geale decides to target Golovkin, WBO beltholder Peter Quillin or IBF titleholder Felix Sturm, a world title shot is in his future.
Of the undercard cruiserweight, Brad PItt started the night off by knocking out Emosi Solitua with a single right hand in the first round. PItt improves to 15-0.
Next up Shane Quinn stopped the near-hopeless Jake Revill in round four.
In the third and best undercard fight of the evening, Robert Berridge stopped the once-promising Kerry Foley in the 10th round. The fight went back and forth with both men touching the canvas. It was a body shot that finally ended things as Foley was forced to take a knee, which prompted his corner to throw in the towel.
In the co-feature, which looked more like something out of WWE than professional boxing, rugby star Paul Gallen stopped Brendon Smith. Gallen was dropped early in the first round, but then rallied back and stopped Smith in the second. The fight erupted after the stoppage and both men fought harder after the bell than before it.
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