IN a shock move James DeGale has vacated the IBF super-middleweight world title.
DeGale lost the belt to Caleb Truax last year but reclaimed it in April. Purse bids for a mandatory defence against Venezuela’s Jose Uzcategui were due on Thursday (July 5) but DeGale has now withdrawn to pursue more appealing options.
“Today I have relinquished my IBF world title as I look to secure big fights in the final chapter of my career. I’ve achieved so much in my career, Olympic gold, British and European title and becoming a two-time world champion. This is the final phase of my career where I want to be in the biggest fights possible. My team has been working very hard behind the scenes and we’ve got some exciting news to announce soon,” he said.
In a statement he continued, “No world champion easily gives up their world title that they’ve earned the hard way in the ring and I’ve proudly held the IBF world title in two reigns with pride and distinction which is why it makes it very hard decision to relinquish the belt. It has been a pleasure to work with the IBF and I would like to thank president Daryl Peoples for allowing me to challenge and hold the distinguished belt that so many of the division’s great champions have held before for me. It has been a honour to be recognised as the IBF world champion and I hope that by now vacating it will ease the transition to determine a successor between the Interim champion Jose Uzcategui and the next highly ranked available contender.
“I believe I’m at the top of my game right now. I’m in the final phase of my career where I have a few good years left where I can be involved in massive fights and really leave a legacy in the division’s history.”
That is an indication that he’s not planning on moving up to light-heavyweight. There are lucrative fights to be made at 168lbs. Although old rival George Groves is involved with the World Boxing Super Series a clash between the two will always be a major event. Chris Eubank Jnr remains one of the bigger names in the division and has no fights scheduled, while Billy Joe Saunders may still consider moving up to fight DeGale.