Exclusive: DeGale talks World Boxing Super Series, Groves II, Smith / Eubank Jr. chances

Joe Hewlett 19/08/2017

The hotly-anticipated World Boxing Super Series is less than a month from beginning with Callum Smith kicking off proceedings against Erik Skoglund.

The only notable absence from the super-middleweight tournament is current IBF king James DeGale.

In a recent interview with WBN, the 31-year-old revealed the extent of a shoulder injury which forced him to have an extended break from the sport.

However, DeGale admitted he’ll be keeping close tabs on the competition, with the winner ultimately on his future hit-list.

“It’s a good tournament, the last Super-Six was done over a few years and people got bored with it. It got dragged out but this one is three fights in nine months so I’m looking for the winner and I’m looking forward to watching it,” DeGale exclusively told World Boxing News.

The knock-out format includes British rivals in Smith, Jamie Cox, Chris Eubank Jr and long-time foe and former opponent George Groves.

Earlier this year, ‘Saint’ Groves made it fourth time lucky in the world champion stakes as he dismantled Fedor Chudinov at Bramall Lane.

DeGale has insisted it was a last chance saloon for Groves to become a world ruler and is waiting in the wings for a potential mega-showdown with the fellow Londoner.

“I don’t rate Chudinov, he’s one dimensional, you know what he’s going to do so he had a touch. That was his (Groves) only chance of winning a world title. I said that about Badou Jack but he turned out to be a quality fighter.

“Best of luck to him, he’s won a world title and hopefully we can get it on. If he can come through the super series we can have a unification fight,” he added.

‘Chunky’ was also close to securing a lucrative domestic dust-up with Smith in the summer. However, despite Eddie Hearn confirming his intentions to announce the fight, negotiations fell through.

Despite initially welcoming the fight, DeGale has had time to review the situation and believes it may have turned out for the best.

He said: “One stage in July I was meant to fight him. Eddie Hearn told me it was basically all set, the date, the venue, everything was booked and then basically he said no, he’s come out with the reasons why it didn’t happen. I was going to box him injured.

“I thought I would be punching in a few weeks after my operation but once I found out it was a tear, it was bigger than expected. It turned out my arm could have popped out my shoulder, it was a blessing it didn’t happen.”

The outspoken Eubank Jr completes the quartet of Brits and the Brighton man’s recent outbursts have included insults towards DeGale.

However, the Olympic champion isn’t flustered in the slightest and has predicted Eubank Jr. won’t win the highly respected Muhammed Ali inaugural trophy.

“I expect him to have a hard fight, I’ve sparred Yildirim and he’s tough, very strong and bangs,” pointed out DeGale.

“You know what you gonna get with him, he should win but you’ve seen in his last few fights, he hasn’t got the power. He thinks he has, but he hasn’t got the world-class power to knock-out super-middleweights.

“You know what, it all goes out my head now, you have to realise, I’m the man. I’m the best super-middleweight in the world, they know if they fight me they’re gonna get paid. I know where I’m going.

“I think it is out of Groves and Smith for the tournament. It’s a difficult one though,” he added.

Joe Hewlett is lead writer for World Boxing News. Follow Joe on Twitter @Hewlett95