Hansard of the Legislative Council
Thursday 26 May 2011
Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - I am going to talk this morning about boxing.
Ms Rattray - Daniel Geale.
Mr FINCH - Daniel Geale. I want to first of all pay tribute to Lionel Rose, a great Australian boxing champion who inspired many Australians when he became only the second Australian and the first Aborigine to win a world boxing title in February 1968. I met Lionel Rose at that time but you might remember when Lionel Rose -
Mr Wilkinson - He fought down here at the City Hall when he was 15.
Mr FINCH - That is right, and you would remember, too, when Lionel Rose came back from fighting Harada from Japan. The tickertape welcome for him in Melbourne was just something to behold for this young Aboriginal fighter. He had done such a wonderful job to represent himself and the Aboriginal people and he has gone on to be lauded as a top Australian.
I cannot help admiring the achievements of our own Daniel Geale, a young Tasmanian who has won the world boxing title in Germany - not the IBO which is a junior title, this is the IBF - the International Boxing Federation title - and he did it in the same month as the death of Lionel Rose. If Daniel Geale has his way, any contender for his title will have to fight him here in Tasmania. I know that Daniel Geale and his management group are working on a title fight here in Tasmania. He is beastly careless where it is in Tasmania by the way, but he would of course love to fight at the Silverdome where he fought on the same card as Tony Mundine. In fact on that night we had over 3 000 people come to the Silverdome to watch him fight. It has been a dream of Daniel's since he was a young kid to actually -
Mr Parkinson - Hobart would be a great venue.
Mr FINCH - Absolutely, and he understands that.
Members interjecting.
Madam PRESIDENT - Order. This is five minutes for the member.
Mr FINCH - The point is that he has had so much support in Tasmania that he would like that to be a thankyou to everyone. Also, Daniel says that he would like to reach out, even to people who do not like boxing, to show those who, as he puts it, think it is a thug's sport that boxing is more than that. Daniel is 30 years of age. He is still living in Sydney with his wife Sheena, he has three kids, a son and two daughters and he is a great role model for the sport. That is the way I view him.
He has had 26 professional fights for 25 wins. There was a very controversial one against Tony Mundine, but 15 of those fights he has won by a knockout. I remember he won a gold medal in the welterweight division at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester. You have to see that fight to realise how professional and just how good a boxer Daniel Geale is. He represented Australia in the 2000 Summer Olympics and he has been a professional boxer since 2004.
When the Launceston business community had a lunch for Daniel in 2005 to help support his boxing career, we heard the story of his dad taking Daniel to Graeme George, a trainer in Launceston, to see if Graeme George would take him on to train him. Graeme George told the story that he thought he would put the boy through a test and he had him do sit-ups and crunches - he wanted him to lie right back and come right forward to his knees and go back again. Graeme George said he did the count - 50, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300, 350, 400, 450 and at 600 he told him to stop because his arms were getting tired. Graeme George knew then that he had somebody special on his hands. I think that has been one of the hallmarks of Daniel Geale's career. He has kept himself incredibly fit. I have spoken with him this morning and he works as a personal trainer in Sydney. He will set himself a three-month program before he defends his title but in the meantime he will still keep himself pretty fit.
Part of his success in Germany was what he called his 'mental game plan'. You have to remember that Daniel is only the fourth Australian to have won a world title on foreign soil and that is very difficult for a boxer who has to cope with a hostile audience, hence you have to have that mental game plan. As he put it to me, he understood Germany was going to be very difficult so he was determined not to let anything bother him.
He has his own tactical style. He evaluates his opponent well before and during his training sessions. And he decided that in fighting the German, Sebastian Sylvester, for the International Boxing Federation middleweight title that he needed to keep busy. As he put it, he would throw plenty of punches, move around the ring and not let anything bother him.
That is what he did, winning on a split decision. We talk about Cathy, for Cathy Freeman, Polly, for Polly Farmer, Lionel for Lionel Rose. I think we are going to call Daniel simply Daniel, another great Aboriginal boxing icon as he will be in Tasmanian sporting history. I look forward to that fight with Daniel Geale; the International Boxing Federation world middleweight title fight here in Tasmania.