After months of anticipation, James DeGale and Chris Eubank Jr. finally confirmed they will settle their bad blood at London’s O2 Arena on February 23.
DeGale knows he is entering the twilight years of a career which has seen him become an Olympic gold-medallist. He also went on to be a two-time IBF super-middleweight world champion and headline Las Vegas in a pulsating unification affair with Badou Jack.
After avenging his loss to Caleb Truax to reclaim the IBF strap, ‘Chunky’ decided to vacate his belt in order to be involved in fights that captured the public’s imagination. His grudge match with Eubank Jr. certainly ticks all those boxes.
Exclusively speaking to World Boxing News, DeGale outlined his excitement at being able to silence his arch-rival. He said: “He’s been calling me out for a long time. There’s a lot of history there.
“It’s my time and chance to shut him up good and proper. We’ve got seven weeks to wait, I’m in fantastic shape and I’m ready to go.
“He’s actually a decent fighter but he’s limited. We’ve seen it over the years, every time he steps up in level he’s been found out.
“Take that away, he’s strong, tough, has a good chin, stays in when the going gets tough and has a set of b******s. You need all these attributes to be a good fighter and to mix it with the best.
“But I have too much for him. I have too good of a pedigree, I’m a two-time world champion, Olympic gold-medallist, you can’t buy that experience.
“It should be a good fight because he is game and will make it a dogfight but I’m telling you now, I’ve got too much for Eubank,” DeGale (📸 Lawrence Lustig) added.
Another element that adds fuel to the fire is the animosity between DeGale and Chris Eubank Sr. Something that DeGale claims begun during his earlier days as a professional.
DeGale, Britain’s first boxer to achieve Olympic gold followed by a world title in pros in 2015, has demanded Eubank Sr. to show him the credibility and respect he deserves, should he overcome his son next month.
“Chris Sr. has always had an opinion on me. I remember when I first turned pro at the Setanta studios. He went in there and said that I wouldn’t make it as a professional, I haven’t got what it takes to become a world champion – well I’ve proved him wrong there.
“I don’t need to prove him right or wrong, he’s insignificant. He adds something to the fight because he brings his mouth. He can say stupid things but that’s Eubank.
“Eubank was a good fighter and I give a person respect when they deserve it. But he did half disrespect me over the years. When I beat his son, I hope he’ll respect me properly and give me the credit.”
Joe Hewlett is lead writer for World Boxing News. Follow Joe on Twitter @Hewlett95
Tickets are on sale to the Public at midday on Monday 7 Jan. Tickets available from www.AXS.com and Inner Ringside/VIP Hospitality from www.sportandmusic.co.uk.
This fight will be shown exclusively on ITV Box Office. For further information and updates, please go to www.itvboxoffice.com.