BOXING hero Daniel Geale was awarded the state’s highest sporting honour last night in Hobart when he was crowned 2012 Tasmanian Athlete of the Year.
The baby-faced boxer this year successfully defended his IBF middleweight title in Hobart and then took on German ace Felix Sturm, the WBA world champion, in Germany.
He came home with both titles.
In doing so, Geale became the first Australian-born boxer to win two universally recognised titles in the same division, and the first man to take world titles from two German fighters in their own country.
The 31-year-old father of three was among six finalists in the running for the award.
The others were London Olympic medal-winning trio Kate Hornsey (rowing), Eddie Ockenden (hockey) and Tim Deavin (hockey); Paralympic gold medallist Todd Hodgetts (shotput); and Tour de France cyclist Richie Porte.
Tasmanian Institute of Sport director Paul Austen said 2012 had been an incredible year for Tasmanian athletes competing in the world’s best sporting events.
“It was a very difficult task to select the winner, which is obviously a very good problem to have,” he said.
Geale got the nod because of his proven results on the world stage, including uniting two titles..
“The dual world champion is quite rightly regarded as one of the world’s best professional boxers,” Austen said.
Reprinted from The Mercury