Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

DeGale's Trainer Jabs Hunter, Talks Froch and Kessler

By Ben Jacobs

James DeGale needed to produce a big performance at Wembley Stadium last month, something he certainly delivered.  On one of the biggest nights in British boxing history, the 2008 Beijing Gold medallist produced his most impressive performance as a professional stopping Brandon Gonzales in four rounds.  His trainer Jim McDonnell looked back on the fight and onwards to the future in a telephone conversation with BoxingScene.

“I think Eddie Hearn made a statement at the press conference before the fight in which what he said was so true.  He said James is about the bright lights and the big fights.  Eddie said it’s not just about getting the win, but it’s about making a statement.  I think James did make a statement and he did come alive on the big stage.  He was so motivated and looking forward to it, nothing fazed him.  I remember when we got to the venue Naseem Hamed came up to him, James is a massive ‘Naz’ fan.  He said, ‘Wow, James, this is a big fight mate, this guy is very dangerous.’  James said, ‘He’s getting banged out.’  I could see his mannerisms and mental state were fantastic.”

DeGale had been under scrutiny in prior fights for fighting on the ropes too often, something which McDonnell attributes to a long-term injury that his charge was carrying.

“James was boxing injured for 18 months, he had never had an operation in his life, but we spoke to Gary Lewin [England football physiotherapist].  Gary said it was a similar injury to Arsenal and England player Theo Walcott, but worse,” Jim explained.

“He got him x-rayed and found two tears on his muscle.  He said, ‘You can’t box’, and James said, ‘I’ve got to box.’  James was getting criticised for being on the ropes, but he couldn’t bend his knee.  He’s now had the operation done, it was called Gilmore’s groin, but he’s still not 100%.  He’s probably around 95% now.  He does strength and conditioning in the groin area every day so for his next fight he should be 100%.”

Given Gonzales’ reputation as a quality operator, the four round dismissal of the American came as something of a surprise to some.  Jim stated that the plan was always to start fast.

“James was actually working on getting this kid out of there in the first round,” he insisted.

“I watched this guy [Gonzales], did my homework and I found out he had been rocked in two fights in the first round, so I was aware of it. Then you had the fast start at Wembley and it nearly came off when James hit him with a big shot.”

McDonnell was not impressed with the fact that Gonzales arrived only six days before the fight, nor was he impressed with some of his trainer’s behaviour prior to the bout.

“As far as I know, Virgil Hunter has never boxed 12 rounds, I have and James DeGale has.  He doesn’t know what goes on in a fighter’s mind.  There was the whole thing with them coming here six days before the fight when they should have been here 21 days before to acclimatise.  No disrespect, but that’s incompetence and inexperience even though he’s a trainer of this and that.  He came here saying James is depressed, but James had so much confidence with them coming late and the fact that Gonzales hadn’t boxed 12 rounds. 

“I watched one of his fights in the lead up, only an eight rounder and he gets back to his corner and he said something along the lines of, ‘I’m tired.’  Virgil Hunter spent the whole minute saying to him, ‘Brandon, you aint tired!’  He kept repeating it over and over again.  He didn’t give him any technical advice.  You could see at the press conference that it was all about Virgil Hunter, he was doing all the interviews.  I was thinking while looking at his fighter, he’s yawning, he’s still got jet lag.  He wasn’t ready!”

Moving on from Wembley, thoughts are now turning to who DeGale may face next given that he is now the IBF’s mandatory contender.

“One of the rumours is that Froch might vacate.  He has a dream to box in Las Vegas and if he does that, good luck to him.  He’s a true champion, he’s been one of Britain’s best.  I wish him all the best.  If he decides to keep the IBF then his next fight will be James DeGale.  But whatever he decides to do, best of luck to him.

“Mikkel Kessler is another true warrior, he’s mixed with the best, he’s only lost to the best and he beat Carl Froch.  You’ll see the best of James in the big fights and a name like Kessler whets his appetite for the fight.  He will be so pumped, focused and on it.  We’re working on loads of stuff and there’s a lot more to James that people don’t know.  If it happens it’ll be great, everyone knows who Kessler is.”

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by micky1971 on 07-01-2014

OLE RONALD MACDONALD JUST DONT KNOW WHEN TO KEEP HIS SQUEAKY LITTLE PIE HOLE SHUT. complete c0ck, wanker. (as adam booth said after the groves fight after all the gob in the pref fight presser with the betting etc). whilst…

Comment by Andre Wardttke on 06-30-2014

[QUOTE=alexguiness;14711782]I was very disappointed in Gonzalez to be honest. DeGale did what he had to do and performed well. I just don't think DeGale has the power or defense to make it to the very peak of the division. Froch…

Comment by parrish duke on 06-30-2014

I wouldn't say he is overrated. His fighters love him, but with Virgil Hunter he is just a very unconventional trainer - he has a philosophy approach, very much like Phil Jackson(not comparable success wise). He mentally prepares you, James…

Comment by alexguiness on 06-30-2014

I was very disappointed in Gonzalez to be honest. DeGale did what he had to do and performed well. I just don't think DeGale has the power or defense to make it to the very peak of the division. Froch…

Comment by chepe009 on 06-30-2014

Nothing much to be said other than Virgil hunter is the most overrated trainer in boxing today, point blank.

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (5)
Top Headlines Liam Smith Hopes To Land Miguel Cotto Showdown Thomas Stalker To Return In Leicester, April 22 Gervonta Davis vs. Liam Walsh: Anthony Yarde Added To Card Tony Bellew Admits He May Possibly Fight "Three" More Times Carson Jones: Kell Brook Will Beat Errol Spence! Marcos Reyes Plans Shocker: David Lemieux is NOT Invincible 30 years later, Tim Ryan on Leonard-Hagler and the Golden Age Mikey Garcia: If Gamboa Can Get a Title, I Would Fight Him Miguel Cotto Ring Return Being Positioned For June 24 Jermell Charlo: Hatley Hasn't Fought Near My Level of Competition Kudryashov-Durodola Rematch - WBC Final Eliminator, May 20 Juan Manuel Marquez Files Lawsuit Over Fraud, 2.3 Million Stolen Luis Ortiz: After My April Fight - I Want Wilder, Joshua or Parker! Srisaket Sor Rungvisai Receives Hero's Welcome at Home Arum Tired of Waiting, Gives Pacquiao Deadline To Decide on Horn Sullivan Barrera: Parker Fight is Another Step To a World Title Luis Ortiz vs. Derric Rossy Possible For Berto-Porter Card Froch: We May See The 'Best and Last' of Klitschko With Joshua Photos: Alberto Machado, Juan Jose Martinez - Go Face To Face Mayweather Gets Partial Win Over Ms. Jackson in Court Ruling Fonfara: Training With Virgil Hunter Will Make Me a Better Fighter Francisco Vargas Might Not Return to Ring Until Sometime in 2018 Samuel Clarkson: I'm Ready To Go To War With Dmitry Bivol! Josh Kelly will face Jay Byrne in Pro Debut on Burns-Indongo Luis Ortiz Inks Pact With Al Haymon Frank Warren Hits Golovkin With Deadline To Ink Saunders Deal Canelo vs. Chavez - Movie Theater Information Photos: Marco Huck, Mairis Briedis - Face To Face at Final Presser Joe Cordina To Make Pro Debut on Murray-Rosado Card, April 22 Roach Hopes Cotto Still Gets in Two Fights Before Retirement Mikey Garcia: If I Go Up To 140, I'd Be Interested in Crawford Fight Roach: 'I Would Love' to Have Pacquiao Fight Keith Thurman Roach: I've Changed My Mind, Golovkin CAN'T Beat Andre Ward! Anthony Joshua Reflects on His Roots, Connection To Nigeria Juanma Continues To Motivate as Clash With Entrenadorcito Nears Liam Smith Vows To Use Williams To Make Statement To Critics Video: Freddie Roach on Pacquiao, Cotto, Golovkin, More Amir Khan Not Ruling Out Conor McGregor Fight in UFC or Boxing Kennedy Katende Ready To Do Damage in Sundsvall, Sweden Abel Sanchez: Ward Will Beat Kovalev, It Won't Be Controversial
Advertisement
Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement