Looking lean and mean, both fighters tipped the scales at 72 kilograms/158.73 lbs.
Sturm vs Geale will be televised live by SAT.1 in Germany, BoxNation in the UK and Main Event Pay-Per-View in Australia.
Felix Sturm and Daniel Geale are, in some ways, the forgotten middleweight champions in the 160lb division, ceding the limelight to lineal champion Sergio Martinez and WBC kingpin Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
As with any unification bout, both fighters have a lot to win and lose Saturday. The winner will not only have unified the WBA and IBF titles, he'll cement himself as a force to be reckoned with in the division and be well-positioned for bigger and better opportunities down the road.
For Sturm, a European mega fight with popular newly-crowned Super Middleweight Champion Arthur Abraham also lies in the balance.
The 33-year-old Sturm launched into public consciousness in 2004 when Oscar De La Hoya looked to use him as a tune-up for Bernard Hopkins. On that night, Sturm fought anything like an "opponent. All three Judges scored the bout 115-113 for the seemingly out-of-shape De La Hoya while HBO's Harold Lederman had Sturm winning by the same score.
Although De La Hoya won a close fight on the scorecards, it was Felix Sturm who made a statement as many believed the German had earned the nod over De La Hoya that night. Compubox counted Sturm as landing 234 of 541 punches, while only 188 of 792 for De La Hoya. Sturm protested the decision with the Nevada Athletic Commission to no avail.
After the De La Hoya fight, the boxing public was hopeful Sturm, now a 'name' fighter, would return to the U.S. to face other big names such Bernard Hopkins, Jermain Taylor, "Winky" Wright and perhaps Felix Trinidad. However, Sturm would retreat to Germany and stage 20 of his next 21 bouts there, with the only exception being his 2005 bout in Pula, Croatia against Jorge Sendra.
Video: Sturm KOs Hearns
In March 2006, Sturm won the WBA Middleweight Title by defeating Maselino Masoe via a unanimous decision. However, Sturm would be TKO'd by Javier Castillejo five months later only to avenge that defeat via a twelve round unanimous decision in April 2007.
Felix Sturm may be the best middleweight in Europe, but catches a lot of criticism outside of Germany. He seldom ventures outside of his German cocoon and, since winning the WBA Middleweight title in 2006, has failed to defend his titte against the best in the division including Jermain Taylor, Arthur Abraham, Kelly Pavlik and Sergio Martinez.
Instead, Sturm opted to fight lesser opponents such as Noe Gonzalez Alcoba, Randy Griffin, Jaime Pittman, Koji Sato and Martin Murray.
To his credit, Sturm cruised to an easy unanimous decision win over Sebastian Sylvester in 2008 and orchestrated a devastating knockout win over the untested Ronald Hearns in February 2011, but struggled to defeat Matthew Macklin several months later and drew with upstart Martin Martin in December 2011.
The German did raise a few eyebrows in April by stopping Sebastian Zbik (then 30-1, 10 KOs) in the 9th Round. Zbik had established himself as a quality opponent last summer following his close, majority decision loss to a much larger Julio Cesar Chavez Jr who entered the ring 20lbs over the middleweight limit of 160lbs.
Can the rough, hard-punching Sturm continue his momentum and shed his 'paper champion' label?
We'll fight out Saturday.
Felix Sturm Facts and Stats
- Record: 37-2-2, 16 KO
- Height: 5′ 11½" / 181cm
- Sturm's birth name is Adnan Catic
- Qualified for the Olympic Games in Sydney, but lost his fight to future middleweight champ Jermain Taylor.
- Won the WBO Middleweight Title in 2003, defeating Hector Javier Velazco
- 2004 Fighter of the Year in Germany
- Became a three-time world champion after defeating Castillejo in the rematch
- Has held a world middleweight title, whether WBA, WBA Super or WBO, 7 of the last 9 years
- Has been KO'd only once in 41 bouts (Sturm vs Castillejo I in 2006)
Most Significant Bouts
- TKO 9 Sebastian Zbik - 2012
- SD 12 Matthew Macklin - 2011
- TKO 7 Ronald Hearns - 2011
- UD 12 Sebastian Sylvester - 2008
- UD 12 Javier Castillejo - 2007
- Loss - TKO 10 Javier Castillejo - 2006
- Loss - UD 12 Oscar De La Hoya - 2004
Video: Felix Sturm KO Highlights