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DeGale Returns March 12, Still Awaits Groves Bout

By Jake Donovan

Undefeated super middleweight prospect James “Chunky” DeGale will return to the ring in a stay-busy fight in Glasgow, Scotland on Saturday March 12, it was announced on Monday during an international conference call.

The opponent will be revealed within the next 24 hours, according to promoter Frank Warren.

“I need the rounds, I need to stay busy,” stated DeGale (9-0, 7KO), who captured Olympic Gold in the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing. “Frank got me this eight-rounder to stay busy, so I’m pleased.”

The fight, which takes place at the Braehead Arena in Glasgow, will come in a supporting capacity. The evening’s main event features super featherweight titlist Ricky Burns, who faces Joseph Laryea.

DeGale agreed to the appearance this weekend while awaiting terms to be finalized for a highly anticipated showdown with fellow unbeaten super middleweight George Groves.

A purse bid was won by Groves’ promoter Hayemaker Promotions, with the agreed-upon terms that the fight takes place no later than April 11.

However, of concern to DeGale and his handlers is that no official date or venue has yet been announced with the fight presumably a month away.

“If you put in a purse bid, you do so with the intention of promoting the fight,” Warren insists. “As of this moment, we signed a contract to fight George Groves on April 9. No venue has been announced… there has been nothing.

“Bottom line is that I have to get my man out, and he’s fighting on (March 12).”

The bout will be DeGale’s first since turning heads with his ninth round stoppage of super middleweight contender Paul Smith last December, drawing rave reviews for scoring such a big win in just his ninth pro fight.

It also comes on the heels of Groves’ own stay busy fight, having scored a fourth round stoppage of David Allotey in Huttersfield this past Saturday evening. Neither DeGale nor Warren went out of their way to watch, instead focusing on March 12 and waiting on the Groves side to take care of their end of the agreement for their own head-on collision next month.

“From my point of view, I’ve seen all I need to see of George Groves,” Warren commented. “I just want this fight for James. If I didn’t fancy the fight, I wouldn’t have pushed for it. 

“We have not tried to stop this fight. When the British Boxing Board put in for purse bids, I asked if we could put in for short term bids. The other side objected to that.”

As a result, they are now forced to play the waiting game, although recent media reports indicate that Groves and his handlers are very much anxious to take the fight and contend for DeGale’s British super middleweight title.

The fight would be a huge step up for both fighters, and has appropriately garnered a tremendous amount of buzz in the British media. The terms of the purse bid were a record high for any British title, underlining the desire from both camps to make this grudge match a reality.

There is certainly no shortage of ill will between the two fighters. Groves refers to DeGale as “Destined to Fail” and views this fight as a steppingstone on the path to greatness.

DeGale simply sees it as a chance to punch a rival in the face.

“I just want to get in there and knock out (Groves),” boldly states the confident yet normally reserved DeGale. “I really don’t like the kid. He’s smug and arrogant.”

Until then, he looks forward to making new fans in Scotland, where he will fight for the first time in his young pro career.

“I will offer a solid, slick performance that the Scots remember me.”

If his promoter has it right, then chances are that DeGale’s name will ring out in the United Kingdom and throughout the boxing world for years to come.

“James is far advanced of any fighter I’ve ever promoted, including Nas(eem Hamed).”

Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]
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