James DeGale doesn’t believe Chris Eubank Jr. will test him when the pair meet next month.
The super-middleweight duo clash on February 23, 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 when he kept himself busy with a tune-up fight against Fidel Monterrosa Munoz in Ontario, stopping his opponent in round three, after it became clear the fight with the former IBO champion – who was last in action against JJ McDonagh at the King Abdullah Sport City Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia back in September – wasn’t going to happen.
And the man who turns 33 next month doesn’t believe 29-year-old Eubank Jr. is anywhere near the level he has been at or can still get to.
“I’ve boxed the best in the world, the very best in the world. From Andre Dirrell when I won my world title to Lucian Bute out in Canada, Badou Jack in a war in New York, I’ve mixed it with the highest of the high,” DeGale said when questioned at the launch press conference for the fight at a London hotel on Thursday. “Chris is a good fighter, he’s a tough fighter, but I place him well down in my list of career challenges.
He does bring it, he’s got a lot of heart and a big set of balls, but that’s not going to be enough to beat me on the night and I think he knows that deep, deep down.”
DeGale demonstrated signs of decline over the course of two difficult fights with the unremarkable Caleb Truax and has made little secret of his desire to use victory to pursue a rematch with former WBA Super world champion George Groves, who last February handed Eubank Jr. the most convincing and damaging defeat of his career in the semi-final of the World Boxing Super Series super-middleweight tournament that was eventually won by Liverpool’s Callum Smith.
But DeGale believes he still has enough left in the tank to do the job against the former British champion at middleweight.
“He will expect to be down after six rounds and I think he’s hoping that I’m not fit and he puts me under pressure and he can take me out,” the 2008 Olympic gold medallist added. “But I’m going to take him back to school, he’s been there before and I’m going to take him back.
“I’m calling this the retirement fight because whoever loses should knock it on the head. But this fight will be as easy as I make it. A lot of people think I’m on the decline, but I’ve suffered from bad injuries in the past, and people are going to get a shock on the night.”
Article by: Elliot Foster