James DeGale and Chris Eubank Jr. will have a title at stake when they meet next month.
The super-middleweight duo clash, exclusively live on ITV Box Office, in a fight that the former IBF champion sees as a ‘loser leaves town’ showdown.
DeGale, who will come up against the son of former world champion Chris Eubank at London’s O2 Arena, has been out of the ring since last September, while the second generation was last in action against JJ McDonagh at the King Abdullah Sport City Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in the same month.
The two will settle a long-standing rivalry, dating back to an infamous sparring session shortly after DeGale’s loss to George Groves back in 2011.
And the vacant IBO title at 168 pounds, a crown formerly held by Eubank Jr., is set to be on the line on February 23.
“On the night, I get my chance to deal with this guy good and proper and finish him. After Eubank has lost to me I don’t know where he is going to go,” DeGale said when the fight was confirmed earlier this week.
“I’m calling this the retirement fight and whoever loses can knock it on the head, it’s game over. He’s got heart and big set of balls but that’s not going to be enough to beat me.”
Eubank Jr., however, believes DeGale has taken this fight for one reason and one reason only – to cash out ahead of a long and fruitful retirement, courtesy of the money he has earned by fighting Stateside with Haymon and PBC.
“This fight has been four or five years in the making and it’s going to be a painful lesson for him,” Eubank Jr., who has enlisted the assistance of Nate Vasquez, a former amateur standout and ex-pro from Las Vegas, to get him in the best possible condition for the fight against DeGale, said. “I’ll bring the heat, just like I always do. James is talking about retirement, but this is something that has never even come into my mind.
“Now we have strategy involved in the camps and I think this is going to take me to the next level.”
Meanwhile, DeGale – who relinquished the IBF world super-middleweight crown in July, the one he had won back from Caleb Truax three months earlier, to start lining up money-spinning fights such as the one with Eubank Jr. – revealed that Lee Selby and Joe Joyce, who both have agreements with Haymon and the PBC brand, could well feature as part of the supporting cast to the thrilling main event.
Joyce, who has the WBA Continental heavyweight crown and has previously held the Commonwealth strap despite still being in the embryonic stages of his career, was last in action on December 1 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, as part of the supporting cast to Deontay Wilder’s draw with Tyson Fury for the former’s WBC heavyweight title.
And the 2016 Olympic silver medallist, who has previously been tied to David Haye and Hayemaker Boxing, is expected to be joined by former IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby on the card as the Welshman returns to the ring at lightweight following last May’s defeat at the hands of Josh Warrington, who recently defended his title against Carl Frampton in a fight of the year contender in Manchester.
Further details regarding the undercard to DeGale’s clash with Eubank Jr. will be revealed in due course.
Article by: Elliot Foster