JAMES DeGALE “would fight next week” if it were up to him but is expected to return to action in September, according to his trainer Jim McDonnell and promoter Eddie Hearn.

However, earlier today the IBF super-middleweight champion provided an update on his future, stating that he is to have surgery on his shoulder – sidelining him for six months.

He has not fought since his thrilling draw with Badou Jack in January and came close to fighting Liverpool’s Callum Smith on July 1, but Hearn believes he could be back in the ring toward the end of the summer.

“We looked at July 1 against Callum Smith, he decided to fight [Anthony] Dirrell [for the vacant WBC title],” Hearn told Boxing News yesterday.

“I think we’ll see James return in September. Obviously he was supposed to fight the winner of [Jose] Uzcategui and [Andre] Dirrell, I think the IBF will order a rematch [the fight ended controversially].

“Obviously you’ve got the [George] Groves fight, he broke his jaw [against Fedor Chudinov], George seems to think he’ll be back October or November but I’m not so sure with that injury but the big fight between those two is there.”

DeGale had previously told Boxing News that he wants a rematch with Groves, who outpointed him in 2011, should his fellow Londoner become world champion. Groves stopped Chudinov last month to become WBA champion.

McDonnell insists James could box next week if he had the chance, but it now seems the Londoner faces a lengthy hiatus – though he hopes to fight before the end of the year.

“There’s so much going on. Groves just won the world title, that’s a fight everyone would love to see and a fight James would love to take. You’ve got to look at everything, he’s got a mandatory defence that needs to be addressed so at the moment we’re seeing what the next step will be,” Jim told Boxing News.

“If it was up to James he’d be out next week. He ran with me yesterday, a long run. He’s on it, he’s ticking over now. Because of the level he’s at now negotiations take a while, there’s different organisations involved so we’re literally just waiting to see what the next step is.

“Callum Smith was mooted, James was up for it and was in the gym getting ready but Smith decided to go the WBC route in America. Groves just won the WBA, Smith could win the WBC, the division’s thriving.”