January 3, 2019
January 3, 2019
Boxing - James DeGale & Chris Eubank Jr Press Conference - Hotel Cafe Royal, London, Britain - January 3, 2019   James DeGale poses after the press conference   Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

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FORMER world champion James DeGale has to resist looking beyond Chris Eubank Jnr to a potential rematch with his old rival George Groves or even another another world title shot. He knows that defeat to Eubank at the O2 on February 23 would spell the end of his career.

“I would fight Callum Smith [the new WBA super-middleweight champion], 100 per cent, but I am not really thinking about him or George Groves, it is just about Eubank. This guy is dangerous. Technically he is not the best but he has heart,” Jame said.

“This year is going to be my year… I might have two more fights and knock it on the head. I might have three. I might have this one, win and go ‘f*** it’. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m financially nice; I’ve not got AJ millions but I’m milled up, I’m in a good position, I’ve got my family around me. I’m comfortable.

“I’ve got good parents and I’ve invested my money right. It’s a difficult one, what to do after boxing. But I’m going to f*** Eubank up first and then I’m probably going to beat Groves, then call it a day. That would be perfect. Or Eubank, then another shot at a world title, then knock it on the head.”

He insisted, “I’m not one of those fighters who doesn’t know when to stop. There are certain fighters who don’t know when to give up; I won’t be one of them. I’ve had a good go, even from an amateur, I’ve won Schoolboy, ABAs, Olympic gold medal, British, European, two-time world champion. I’ve done it all. Tell me another fighter who’s done that, there are only a couple.”

This sport however has consumed his whole life. His only other profession was a brief year as a plumber long ago. “Boxing is in me, it’s all I’ve known. I’ve only had one job. I know nothing else, I left school in year nine and this is how I’ve made my money; I love it,” DeGale said.

James DeGale vs Chris Eubank Jr

At this stage of his career however he promises he has no fear of Eubank Junior. “I got caught up the hype when his dad said he was a killer,” the former champion said. “This is a step down, of course. But I am getting paid extremely well and it is a fight that everybody wants to see.”

“I understand why people think I am on the decline, based on my last few performances, people are saying my speed, reflexes and movement have gone,” he continued. “He thinks I am on the decline and he expects to be losing after the first six rounds but then to stop me late on. He thinks I don’t live the life and don’t train very hard.”

But in contrast DeGale maintains that he is in fact refreshed, fit and ready. “He is too arrogant and ignorant to change or listen to anyone but himself. Have you seen him in the corner between rounds with his dad and his trainer Ronnie Davies? It’s pathetic, bizarre. A new coach will make no difference,” he said of Eubank.

“This fight is down to me, if I perform like I should perform then I win it convincingly. He probably will have some success because he’s tough, strong, and he’s game. But I’m too good for him.”