TASMANIAN boxer Daniel Geale is hoping his family will give him wings as he flies off for the biggest fight of his life today.
The 33-year-old is heading to the US to take on Kazakhstan's WBA world champion Gennady Golovkin at New York's famous Madison Square Garden, but said his motivation comes from his family, especially his mother Michelle who is fighting cancer in his home town of Launceston.
``Recently I found out my mum has cancer, which has been tough, but she is a fighter and she keeps telling me she is not going to quit, so that motivates me greatly. I will be fighting for her,'' Geale said.
After holding his final training session in Sydney yesterday, the middleweight also thanked his father, Wayne, who first introduced him to boxing at Lilydale PCYC nearly a quarter of a century ago, as well as his wife Sheena and children Bailey, Ariyelle and Lilyarna.
``I have had so much support throughout my career. I am blessed,'' Geale said.
``Thank you to my family - my motivation - my wife, my children, my mum, dad and my brother.
``Mum, I know you have the battle of your life on your hands, it's you that gave me the fighting spirit, I am going to fight the battle of my life and you will fight yours. We are fighters. This fight is for you!
``To all my supporters, thank you for all the messages of support. I appreciate it more than you know.
``I look forward to bringing some titles back to Australia.''
Speaking to Gareth Wasik of roundeight.com this week, the former Rocherlea primary and Brooks high student said his upbringing had helped make him a world champion.
``Tasmania is a beautiful place and I am glad I was brought up down there,'' Geale said.
``It's very quiet and peaceful. I had a normal childhood as mum and dad struggled a fair bit, it was the same for most people in our area, but they were very supportive with everything I chose to do.
``They've done a great job keeping me grounded and being thankful for what I have got.
``It is exciting to think that I'm making a living from the sport I love. Money isn't something that only just motivates me, but it's something that gives me the chance to support my family and give them the things I never had as a kid.
``I started boxing when I was nine years old. I was a shy kid and I guess boxing gave me an outlet to be me.
``It gave me confidence as I was growing up. My dad suggested we try it out and I loved it from the very first training session.''
Universally known as the Mecca of Boxing, the Garden has hosted more than 50 world title fights, including boxers of the calibre of Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, Jake La Motta and Joe Frazier versus Muhammad Ali, but Geale said he would not be overawed when he steps into the ring in a fortnight.
``It is a historic venue and it's an honour to fight in such a place but I can't let that affect me too much,'' he said.