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Pirog-Geale unification nearly set

Promoters Gary Shaw and Artie Pelullo are close to finalizing a "Boxing After Dark" doubleheader with HBO for Aug. 25 that, if everything is finalized, will feature a middleweight unification bout between Daniel Geale and Dmitry Pirog and a junior middleweight title bout between Austin Trout and Sergiy Dzinziruk.

"It's very close. We're 99 percent done," Pelullo told ESPN.com on Thursday. "I'm very excited about the opportunity for Pirog to be on HBO and for Dzinziruk to be back on HBO. These four fighters are among the best in their respective weight classes, and it's been a long time coming that they are on HBO."

The site for the card has not been determined.

Australia's Geale (27-1, 15 KOs), who would be making his third title defense in his American debut, and Russia's Pirog (19-0, 15 KOs), who also would be making his third title defense, would square off in the main event to unify two belts at 160 pounds.

Pirog won his belt in his only American appearance, a brutal fifth-round upset knockout of Daniel Jacobs in Las Vegas on an HBO pay-per-view undercard in July 2010. Pelullo said Pirog would still go through with a title defense scheduled for May 1 against an opponent to be determined in Russia.

In the opening bout, Trout (24-0, 14 KOs), of Las Cruces, N.M., would make the third title defense of his 154-pound belt against former titleholder Dzinziruk (37-1, 23 KOs), of Ukraine.

That fight moved a step closer to being finalized Thursday when nobody from the camp of interim titlist Anthony Mundine showed up at the purse bid for his mandatory bout with Trout. Trout was represented, but with nobody on hand from the Mundine camp interested in bidding, Trout will be allowed to make the optional defense against Dzinziruk.

Dzinziruk has not fought since being dropped five times in an eighth-round knockout loss when he moved up to middleweight to challenge world champion Sergio Martinez in March 2011. The August card came about because one of the stipulations in Dzinziruk's deal to fight Martinez was that HBO guaranteed him a return fight on the network, which is living up to its overdue obligation.

"These are two very interesting, pick 'em fights," said Shaw, who promotes Geale, co-promotes Trout with Greg Cohen and co-promotes Dzinziruk with Pelullo, who also promotes Pirog. "We'll come out with someone important at 154 and definitely someone important at 160. So I really like this card. I really believe there will be two people who come out of these fights who will be important to boxing in these two weight divisions."