IN the Diamond Suite at Emirates Stadium, where membership costs upwards of £30,000 a season to watch Arsenal, Gunners fan James DeGale confirmed his November 28 IBF super-middleweight title defence against Lucian Bute. The contest will take place at the Videotron Centre – a new arena – in Quebec City, where the former champion will enjoy home advantage.
“You can see what kind of man I am I’m going to Canada to give Lucian Bute a chance to box for my world title,” said DeGale. “The way I’m feeling, I’m in top shape, it’s going to be hard to beat me. My journey is just starting, his is coming to an end.
“I want the big fights, I want to unify titles. First things first I have to beat Bute and he wants his old belt back. I’m too young, too fresh, and too good. Much too good.”
Bute was last in Britain three years ago when he lost the IBF title in five rounds to Carl Froch. He is eager to get his hands back on the belt he won way back in 2007.
“Last time I was hear I lost my title in 2012 but that is in the past,” said Bute, now trained by Howard Grant. “I have a new team behind me and I will become a world champion again. This is big for me because I had this belt for five years. On November 28 I get it back. Thanks to James for the opportunity. I have never lost in Quebec City – I will be the new world champion.”
Jim McDonnell, DeGale’s trainer, believes his fighter has improved since winning the championship in May – a 12-round verdict over Andre Dirrell in Boston.
“Everyone knows what Bute is about,” said McDonnell. “But I’m here to talk about James DeGale. I have never seen, read or heard about a fighter as good as James. Winning the world title has put 20 per cent on his performances. His sparring the other day was incredible. Your going to see the best of JD in November and he will go on to be not just a good champion, but a great champion.”