Tasmanian sport threw itself into the limelight last night (August 31) as a Launceston-born and raised boxer defended a world title in front of a packed and enthusiastic home crowd.
Daniel Geale comfortably defeated Nigerian-born American Eromosele Albert to hold onto his IBF world middleweight title belt at the Derwent Entertainment Centre (DEC) – ten minutes from Hobart's city centre.
The venue is regarded as the premier facility of its kind in Tasmania and is surrounded by magnificent mountains and the Derwent River's clear blue water.
It was a watershed moment for both Geale and his state, with the event one of the biggest ever staged on the island. The bout drew an international television audience that may lead many people across Australia and around the world to investigate more about Tasmania and some of its excellent cultural and natural wonders.
Winning in front of a parochial home crowd made the event even more memorable for the 30-year-old, who has regularly competed overseas to the jeers of hostile stadiums.
"5,000 screaming Tasmanians is better than 5,000 screaming Germans, I can tell you that," said Geale, referring to his previous fight where the title was claimed.
"I had to keep the crowd to the side a little bit but gee I could feel them especially towards the end, they just kept pushing me. Things got tough at a few stages and the crowd definitely helped me."
Despite turning down a $1 million purse to take the event to a different location, Geale appeared delighted with his decision and has now fulfilled a promise to fans that his first title defence would be staged on home turf.
With an imposing record of 26 wins from 27 bouts, he is now set to take his burgeoning reputation to the US and will bring plenty of clout to the negotiating table when searching for big match-ups with highly-regarded opponents in the future.