DANIEL Geale believes his professional debut in the US could prove tougher than his two historic world title victories in Germany.
The 32-year-old Launceston middleweight will fight Briton Darren Barker in August for the IBF world title that he has twice denied Germans on their home soil.
However, Geale believes it's time for him to break the US market.
``I wanted my next fight to be in America, I believed it was the next step for me,'' he said.
``It's going to be tough, probably as tough, if not tougher, than going to Germany, because the US is a tough place to fight. But that gets me really excited.
``The middleweight division is very strong at the moment and we're looking to go over there and make a bit of an impression and get people to know me.''
Geale's fifth title defence, but first on prime time in the US, will be at a casino resort in Verona, near New York, on Sunday, August 18, and the proponents, who are both Commonwealth Games gold medallists, share a similar view about the location.
``I like travelling. I like fighting overseas and I believe I can step up when I need to,'' said Geale, whose 30-fight pro career features just the solitary controversial loss to Anthony Mundine.
``All I have to do is go over there and do my job. It doesn't matter where you fight. People ask me all the time `what's it like fighting in different countries and different venues?' but for me I'm still inside a ring no matter where I am.
``It's just me and another guy fighting so it doesn't matter where I am, I could be on the moon. I know what I have to do and that's all there is to it.''
Barker, a 31-year-old Londoner whose only loss in 26 fights came against WBC Diamond middleweight champion Sergio Martinez two years ago in Atlantic City, agreed.
``It doesn't matter if that ring is in London, Australia or the North Pole, when that bell goes there's only going to be one winner,'' he said.
``I would have been happy to go to Australia but obviously being in neutral ground I'm over the moon because makes it a little bit easier for me.
``I truly believe I've got his number and it would be fantastic to fulfil my dream of becoming world champion.
``The fight is two days after my mum's birthday and that red belt would be a nice present for her.''
Geale said Barker put up a good fight against Martinez and has bounced back with wins over Kerry Hope and Simone Rotolo.
``They probably believe that I'm one of the weaker champions and that excites me because I love being the underdog, the person that gets overlooked,'' he said.
Barker responded: ``They don't hand genuine world titles out for nothing and I really do respect him but I'm in my prime, I'm injury-free, mentally a lot tougher than I have been, so I can't wait.''