Former middleweight titlist Daniel Geale would love to mix it up with titleholder Gennady Golovkin in the spring, but first will take on Australian countryman Garth Wood in Sydney on Feb. 19, promoter Gary Shaw told ESPN.com on Wednesday.
"I'm glad Daniel is fighting as he needs to stay busy," Shaw said.
The scheduled 12-round bout, a pay-per-view fight in Australia, will be Geale's first since he lost his world title by split decision to Darren Barker of England in a fight of the year candidate on Aug. 17 in Atlantic City, N.J.
Geale (29-2, 15 KOs), 32, is familiar with Wood as he sparred with him when Wood was preparing for a Dec. 11 fight with interim titlist Martin Murray, a fight that was later canceled. Wood (12-3-1, 8 KOs), 35, has won two bouts in a row following back-to-back decision losses to countryman Sam Soliman and Anthony Mundine. Wood had previously scored a major upset by knocking former super middleweight world titleholder Mundine out in the fifth round in 2010.
"Wood is a dangerous and risky fight against a wild puncher," Geale told ESPN.com. "I have been training hard for my comeback fight. I'm not going to take this fight lightly. We needed a fight to keep active, the opportunity arose, and my management arranged it. It will be an interesting fight with different styles.
"I can't wait to get back in there and pursue my journey to become a world champion again. I believe the plan is to fight GGG sometime in 2014. It would be ideal to be able to take a title to the table. We will see what happens."
Shaw said he hopes that rebounding from the close loss to Barker by beating Wood will set the stage for a possible fight with Golovkin, who first is scheduled to defend his 160-pound belt against Osumanu Adama on Feb. 1 in Monte Carlo. If Golovkin wins, he is slated to return to fight in the United States on HBO in April.
"Geale wants to fight GGG in April, and I have spoken to HBO about the fight and all they say is that they are interested, but they are exploring other options," Shaw said. "What can be a better option than Geale, a true 160-pounder and a former world champion who beat [Felix] Sturm [in a unification fight] on German soil? And even though Daniel did not get the decision in [against Barker] he is willing to come back just to fight GGG.
"What I don't understand is that after the Barker fight, HBO said they wanted Geale back, and now they have gone silent. I know GGG would fight Geale as [Golovkin's team] asked if we wanted the fight in Monte Carlo, but Geale wants to fight him on HBO."
While the Geale-Wood fight has the makings of a tuneup bout for Geale, it represents a big opportunity for Wood to face one of the best fighters to come out of Australia in recent years.
"Daniel has been the best fighter to come out of Australia in 20 years with what he has done, going overseas and beating the champions on their turf," Wood told the (Sydney) Telegraph, referring to Geale's two title victories in Germany against Sturm in 2012 and Sebastian Sylvester in '11.
"And even though Murray being canceled was a disappointment, I believe everything happens for a reason and it has led me to this, my biggest fight by far, and deservedly so."