‘Ashamed and embarrassed’ James DeGale admits rushing back from injury cost him world title

📷 Chris Farina

James DeGale is firing on all cylinders ahead of his anticipated rematch with Caleb Truax in Las Vegas this weekend.

‘Chunky’ looked lethargic and sluggish when dropping his IBF super-middleweight belt to the American before Christmas and admits his stubbornness to return from injury in 2017 cost him his championship.

“Training camp has been fantastic. I rushed back from my shoulder injury in my last fight. I couldn’t believe I lost my title and I could only blame myself. I’m lucky to have this chance to make it right and regain my title,” said DeGale.

“I’m injury-free now and physically ready for this fight. Most importantly, I’m mentally ready for this challenge and I can’t wait to get in the ring.

“I learned that you can’t rush fitness. I had a reconstructive surgery and I came back far too quick. I learned my lesson the hard way. Now I have to get it back the hard way.

“As soon as the doctor said that some athletes come back after six months from my injury, I was determined to fight in 2017. Everyone can see that I was slow in the ring. I was ashamed of my performance. It was embarrassing and I’m looking to erase that on April 7.

“I’ve watched the first fight with Truax a couple of times but it’s very tough because I know that’s not me in there. For the past six weeks I’ve felt so much better. My jab is sharp again and everyone will see that when I become a two-time world champion.

“Truax has tasted what it’s like to be a world champion. He’s going to be hungry and have that burning desire to beat me. At the end of the day, I’m just too good for him and I’m going to prove it. I have to make a statement,” he added.

A win for DeGale puts him firmly back in the frame for a huge match-up against the winner of the forthcoming World Boxing Super Series tournament finale in the summer, as an all-British unification opposite Callum Smith or old foe George Groves hangs in the balance.