JAMES DEGALE makes the first defence of his IBF super-middleweight title on Saturday (November 28) against Lucien Bute in Quebec, Canada. If, as expected, DeGale prevails, he’s looking forward to a big year in 2016.
“A massive year, there are some big names in the division. Badou Jack [the WBC champion] is the one I want, in Vegas,” James said. “It’s about unifying titles, he beat George Groves [DeGale’s rival, who holds a win over him], plus it’s in Las Vegas, one of my dreams. Imagine boxing in the MGM, in front of how many thousand, unifying titles. It’s a dream, he beat Groves, plus I get paid for it so it’s all good.”
He’s confident that it can happen. “[Al Haymon] gives me three opponents and I tell [him who I want to fight]. I’m in such a good position. When I hear fighters thank Al Haymon [I know why]. I’m going to be thanking Al Haymon, trust me. It’s not just that he pays you well, he’s a very, very nice humble intelligent man and all he cares about is his fighters,” James said.
He’s targeting next summer for his major fight. “This is why I’m so easy to work with because I’m willing to fight anyone. If they say [Gennady] Golovkin, why not?” he said. “I’d rather he came up to super-middle, I don’t think he’s big, he’s five foot eight. He hits extremely hard, he cuts off the ring very well. But I’m telling you, he got beaten before in the amateurs. He got Olympic silver… Trust me, he’s beatable.”
He would be willing to shed a few pounds to make that fight at a catchweight. He reckons he could make 164lbs. “As an amateur I made 75 kilos on the morning of the [bout],” James noted.
An appealing fight for a British audience would be Chris Eubank Jnr. “For a big stadium fight,” DeGale mused. “He carries that name, obviously, Eubank. You’ve see it helps him a lot along the way because he [Chris Snr] is always there, giving his bit. If he carries on winning and carries on looking good and people want to see the fight, why not? If he wins a world title, he comes up in weight, it’s catchweight or whatever and it sells, let’s do it. It could well sell.
“But I’m not too sure if he’s going to get past Gary O’Sullivan, I’ve heard he’s looking really good and he’s a good fighter. Billy Joe Saunders rates him so we’ll see.”