19
Apr
2019

DeGale prefers world title unifications with Ramirez or Groves over Smith mandatory

Phil Jay 01/01/2017

Lawrence Lustig

James DeGale and George Groves could be on a collision course once again in 2017 as the super-middleweight division reaches fever pitch in the United Kingdom.

A win for belt holder DeGale against WBC champion Badou Jack this month will light the blue touch paper for what could end up being a huge UK return with Groves in last quarter of the year.

DeGale and Groves shared twelve close rounds in 2011 with the latter just coming out on top in a fight that he always irked ‘Chunky’ in his quest to remain undefeated in the pro ranks.

The build-up to the fight fully caught the fans imagination for what was, amazingly, only a co-feature bout on a Nathan Cleverly world light-heavyweight title undercard in London at the time.

With Groves put forward to face Fedor Chudinov for the vacant WBA ‘Super’ title at 168 pounds, both Brits are aware that victories in their respective contests will be the catalyst to getting tongues wagging once again.

“I think it’s possible I could have all the belts by the end of 2017,” DeGale told The Mirror recently.

“I can win the WBC in January, fight Gilberto Ramirez (for another title) in the summer and then Groves (for the other). The super-middleweight division is getting exciting.”

Regarding mandatory duties with a further compatriot in Callum Smith, which has been stipulated to happen next by WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman, DeGale seems to be edging towards any of the title holders in order to bypass the rules.

Should Ramirez prove tough to nail down though, DeGale would then be open to fulfilling Sulaiman’s wishes against Smith before a potential return with Groves.

“Eddie Hearn rates Callum Smith very, very highly and he’s the mandatory challenger. If I get through this fight with Jack, it’s a massive fight in London,” said DeGale.

“Callum hasn’t fought anyone yet, but he has looked good against everyone he has fought. You can’t really judge him based on who he’s fought. He’ll get his turn soon, and we’ll see if he is elite.

“I think at the moment, Badou Jack is a better fighter than Callum Smith,” he added.

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