Following James DeGale’s decision to vacate his IBF title on Wednesday morning, Callum Smith’s trainer Joe Gallagher has responded to the scenario.
Gallagher reacted after WBN stated DeGale had been in contact with Smith’s forthcoming opponent George Groves over a potential rematch.
“There’s no surprise there, the IBF have given him so many passes and that dealt so many delays not dealing with mandatories,” Gallagher exclusively told World Boxing News.
“Fair play to Uzcategui, he had his fights and did everything right and I’m not surprised James DeGale doesn’t want to fight him.”
With the news breaking all over social media there has been an array of opinions and Gallagher voiced his own: “Disappointing when you look at the ones who become a world champion and they turn around and give the belt up so easily, when there’s plenty of people out there that failed to be one.
“Obviously my personal experience with Matthew Macklin with Sturm and Paul Smith with Abraham, they would have loved to have been world champion.”
DeGale has no opponent or date announced yet as he chases a big fight in the latter stage of his career. Gallagher showed interest in a Badou Jack rematch but also a concern for vacating the title.
“I can understand if he dropped it and chased a massive Badou Jack rematch at light heavyweight – great there’s no problem with that, but at the moment I don’t know why he has given it up.”
Target Groves heads into the WBSS final against Gallagher’s man, although rumors spread that the final could be in jeopardy.
“No, none whatsoever. Contracts are signed, that’s not happening. They have standby people for any pull outs and Chris Eubank Jr. is one, there are others as well but I can’t see that happening,” said Gallagher.
“As far as we’re concerned in this moment and time we’re fighting George Groves. Contracts are signed and we’re waiting for the date and venue to be announced.”
On Smith or Groves facing DeGale after the Ali Trophy final, Gallagher added: “I think the winner of the WBSS wouldn’t be interested in fighting James DeGale because what does he bring, he doesn’t have a belt anymore.
“When James DeGale says he is now wanting the big fights and he’s after George Groves, I’m sure George wouldn’t entertain him unless he brought a belt to the table.
“What people will say is that it doesn’t make sense, that surely he’d keep the belt and if you want those fights you defend against Uzcategui, beat him and he’s back in the big time again.
“James DeGale without a belt, I don’t think there would be many in America wanting to call him out but I do feel there’s a fight for him and Chris Eubank Jr, I think that’s a good domestic fight.”
Picture: Stephanie Trapp
The two Britons have history and have sparred together in the past. Eubank showed genuine hunger for a fight with DeGale which could be the most likely to happen next with everything else tied up.
Billy Joe Saunders was also mentioned in terms of challenging DeGale to become a two-weight world champion, although that was until recent developments with the IBF.
“Him and Billy Joe, I can’t see what Billy Joe gets out of it because DeGale hasn’t got a world title, I’m sure they’re not gonna box for an IBO title,” he predicted.
“Billy Joe is world champion at middleweight and I think he just has to sit tight, do the Martin Murray fight in September and then fight the winner of Canelo vs. GGG in December or next year.”
“I think the winner would most likely look at Badou Jack or Golovkin if he moves up, I can’t see them fighting DeGale for no titles.
“Once the washing machine stops spinning, I’m sure everything will come out of the wash in the end,” he added.
Chandler Waller is a staff writer for World Boxing News. Follow Chandler on Twitter @ChandlerWaller