FORMER world champion James DeGale arrived in Los Angeles on Saturday to finish training camp at the Team Watson Boxing Club as he prepares for his world title rematch against IBF Super Middleweight Champion Caleb Truax Saturday, April 7 live on SHOWTIME from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
The Premier Boxing Champions event is headlined by Erislandy Lara, the longest reigning world champion at 154-pounds, clashing with undefeated champion Jarrett Hurd in a highly anticipated 154-pound world title unification bout. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and features Julian Williams and Nathaniel Gallimore meeting in a 154-pound world title eliminator.
DeGale is looking to bounce back from a majority decision loss to Truax last December in London, a fight he believes he rushed into after suffering a serious shoulder injury that included a 180-degree tear and damage to his rotator cuff and AC joint.
“When the doctor told me that some athletes recover from that injury in six months, I had it set in my mind that I would box again in December,” said DeGale. “No one was going to tell me otherwise. I rushed my injury and I wasn’t at my full fitness. I can only blame myself.”
Already the first fighter from the U.K. to win an Olympic gold medal and a professional world title, DeGale challenged Badou Jack in a 168-pound unification fight that turned into a back and forth war, a “Fight of the Year” candidate and eventually, a majority draw. DeGale believed that Truax would not have enough to challenge him in his first fight back from injury.
“My mindset at the time was that I can beat Truax with no hands,” said DeGale. “It was the wrong way to think. I’m an elite fighter and this is a dangerous sport. I’ve only got myself to blame.
“This time, I’m going to make it right. My training is like night and day compared to last camp. On my best day, no one in this division can beat me. No disrespect to Caleb Truax, but I’m a much better fighter. Now I’m training how I should have trained for the last fight.”
Some of DeGale’s finest moments in boxing have come in the U.S., including his title-winning fight against Andre Dirrell in May 2015 in Boston. He also defended his title against Rogelio Medina in April 2016 in Washington, D.C. before his unification showdown. Now DeGale will look to become a two-time champion in the boxing hotbed of Las Vegas.
“The U.S. is really my second home now,” said DeGale. “In the past when I’ve fought on the East Coast I’ve gone down to Miami to train heading into the fight. This time California seemed like the perfect place to go before Las Vegas.
“This is my first time training in California, but so far I’ve been really comfortable at the Team Watson Boxing Club. I’ve got some great sparring lined up, including working with Gabriel Rosado. Most importantly my body is super fit and injury free. Everything is geared to getting my title back on April 7 and leaving no doubt in the ring.”