Sport

Ahead of his bout against WBC middleweight champ Miguel Cotto, boxer Daniel Geale talks about family life and honing his killer instinct. By Alex McClintock.
Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Heavy hitter: Daniel Geale, 34, boxer

Working with my wife and manager, Sheena, is important. She does help out a lot. It would be extremely tough without her. It’s great having that support at home as well. I’ve got four kids now and she’s extremely busy and the kids are busy. Being able to balance everything sometimes can be tough, but that’s what’s made us a great team for so many years now.

I don’t spend much time talking boxing with Sheena. She gets a bit nervous during fights, as you would expect; most of the time she just tells me to keep my hands up and not get hit.

I guess the kids are a bit young to watch my fights at this stage. To be honest, they’d probably prefer to watch cartoons than boxing. Sheena’s been with me for a long time, I know she gets nervous, but she understands boxing very well.

Actually, it’s been really good training with a newborn baby in the house. Sheena’s handled things really well, she’s breastfeeding so there’s not much I can do. She doesn’t even bother annoying me during the night. I’ve been lucky, you know, I’ve barely heard Harper at all and she’s starting to get in a really good sleeping pattern now, which is a blessing.

It pumps me up when I go into an arena and everyone’s cheering for the other guy. I really enjoy it. I know people are hoping that I’m going to get beaten or knocked out. Every time anyone throws a punch that even looks like it’s going to hit you there are big cheers going on. I just think about doing what I have to do and keeping the crowd quiet.

It’s very frustrating when there’s favouritism in boxing. It’s happened to me a few times before. I think that while there’s money involved in sport, things like that are always going to happen. Boxing judging can be a tough thing to do, but I guess when you’re on the wrong side of a bad decision things are so much worse.

When you win a world title it’s pretty fulfilling, so much hard work has gone into it all. But the big feeling at the end of a fight is that you’re pretty bloody exhausted, so you have to try and bring up a bit of energy to try to show a little bit of emotion.

Having a kid is a fair bit different from winning a world title. Having my four kids, they were my proudest moments as a person. In the sporting world the world titles were my proudest moments, but as a human I was pretty excited and pretty fortunate to be part of the birth of all my children. I cut the cord for all my kids. I was right there for it all.

I try to separate my outside life from my boxing life. To an extent, though, I guess my boxing does show who I am. Out of the ring I’m not aggressive at all. I guess you can sort of see that a little bit in the ring when sometimes I don’t take advantage of opportunities.

I am trying to have more of a killer instinct. I’ve had to work on that since I was 15 years old. I still remember one of my old coaches going crook at me for being too nice in the ring. I don’t really know how that works, but he wasn’t happy with my performance. When you see weakness and you’ve hurt somebody, you have to make sure you do the right thing to finish the fight.

Sometimes I’m surprised by my own power. The punches that hurt your opponents the most are just technically good punches, they’re not the ones when you’re trying to kill the guy. That’s the idea that you have to have, you can’t go out there and expect every punch to be the biggest one you’ve ever thrown, because you won’t land them. 

The trick is to relax, have great technique and then if you find your mark, try not to get a rush of blood to the head. That’s when you stop guys.

I don’t really go in for Floyd Mayweather stuff. I’ve got the HiLux in the garage; I don’t use it a lot. I’m driving a Holden at the moment; they used to sponsor me. I’m not a crazy spender like that. My kids are my priority at the moment. I guess the biggest thing I’ve bought is the house we moved into eight months ago. My wife and I are extremely happy about where we’ve come from to get something as nice as that.

This weeks highlights…

Soccer: FIFA Women’s World Cup – United States v Australia 

Tuesday, 9.30am (AEST), Winnipeg Stadium, Winnipeg, Canada

Soccer: Champions League final – Juventus v Barcelona

Sunday, 4.45am (AEST), Olympiastadion Berlin, Germany

• Boxing: Cotto v Geale (WBC Middleweight Championship)

Sunday, 11.30am (AEST), Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, United States 

• Cricket: West Indies v Australia

2nd Test, June 11-15, Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica

AFL: North Melbourne v West Coast Eagles

Sunday, 3.20pm (AEST), Blundstone Arena, Bellerive, Tasmania

Tennis: French Open – Singles finals

Women’s, Saturday, 11pm, Men’s, Sunday, 8pm (AEST), Paris

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Jun 6, 2015 as "Heavy hitter". Subscribe here.

Alex McClintock
is a Sydney-based feature writer.

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