The newly crowned IBF World super-middleweight champion James DeGale(21-1, 14KO’s) seemed ready for his next challenge when he spoke to Fighthype.com recently, despite having only claimed his new belt about one week beforehand.
DeGale claimed the title against fellow southpaw Andre Dirrell(now 24-2, 16KO’s) in Boston, Massachusetts on May 23rd after a closely contested bout was seen in his favor by all three of the judges. He dropped Dirrell twice early on but had a difficult task keeping the American at bay over the last six rounds. The fight was a close one, but the right man won on the night.
DeGale picked up the same belt that was stripped from fellow Brit Carl Froch(33-2, 24KO’s). Froch refused to defend against DeGale as soon as he reached that sanctioning body’s mandatory position. The situation between the two has been an ongoing one with plenty of speculation flying around as to why Froch chose that particular course of action, but the only person who knows for sure is Froch himself. DeGale had this to say:
“I’ve got respect for the man but when I say he’s a pussy, he is; he don’t wanna fight me. He’s gonna get paid for it, he just don’t wanna fight me.”
That is one of those rare occasions where the words ‘Froch’ and ‘Pussy’ have been in the same sentence together as an item.In fact, an even rarer occasion when you struggle to find a counterpoint. Nobody can question Froch’s heart or courage but for whatever reason, he does not want to fight DeGale.
One man who has already had that pleasure is another 168-pounder from the UK. George Groves(21-1, 16KO’s) appears ready to follow DeGale’s lead on the world stage. Groves is hunting a showdown with WBC champion Badou Jack(19-1-1, 12KO’s) in his efforts to claim an inaugural world title. If his Sauerland promoters manage to secure him that match he has a very good chance of realising his ambition against a man few fancied to win when he dethroned Anthony Dirrell(Andre’s brother) in late April.
With both DeGale and Groves as belt-holders a rematch of their 2011 meeting -which Groves edged on points- would be a natural as a unification bout. For that reason, DeGale is pulling for Groves.
“Hopefully he goes and wins his world title man, my fingers are crossed for him. I’m actually cheering on George Groves. I want him to go out there and win the fight; then we can unify titles next year.”
In the interim DeGale will presumably want to defend his prize, and after insisting “I’m willing to fight anyone”, he asked the interviewer which opponent he would like to see next. After a some umming and ahhing, DeGale asked whether two former champions and Froch opponents Mikkel Kessler or Lucien Bute would suffice. They most certainly would, and perhaps DeGale has just given us a little insight into his promoters plans for the immediate future.