DeGale's Trainer: We're Building Steam To World Title Shot

London - Jim McDonnell believes WBC Silver super-middleweight champion James DeGale MBE’s North American debut tomorrow night can start “building that momentum towards winning a world title."

The former 2008 Olympic gold medalist, fondly known as 'Chunky,' takes on Sebastien Demers at Casino Lac-Leamy, Gatineau, May 17th.

“He’s been training for a long time, it’s been a very long camp - obviously through no ones fault the last one got called off but he’d ticked all the boxes - he’d sparred 241 rounds,” Jim said.

“Now, with the fight in Canada in place, he hasn’t got to, essentially, do too much because he’s already there - if anything we’re just guarding against over-cooking him really.

“It’s just a case of holding him over and once he gets in the ring in Canada I think he’s going to put on a really good performance and this could be the start of him building that momentum towards winning a world title.”

This will be DeGale’s first fight since dominating former IBO super-middleweight champion Fulgencio Zuniga in Hull back in December, after his clash with Alexander Brand, set for March, was postponed.

Now, DeGale will come face to face with Canadian fighter Demers, who fought Arthur Abraham for the IBF middleweight title in 2007 and boasts an impressive 31 wins from 36 fights.

But, 'Team Chunky' are eager to impress the Canadian fans and know a good performance could propel James towards that world title.

“I think the Canadian fans will see someone who will live up to the title of former Olympic champion, champion of his own country, champion of Europe, someone who is a genuine article,” Jim said.

“Someone who is a genuine world class fighter who’ll be looking to become a world champion in the not too distant future - definitely the next year to 18 months.”

Having admitted himself that he was suffering with a long-term knee injury, DeGale is now well on the way to recovery and his trainer believes the difference will be there for all to see.

“It’s chalk and cheese, absolutely unbelievable - he boxed with the knee, refused to have it looked at or anything done for it for a long long time - he was in a bit of self-denial with it,” Jim said.

“I think he was just terrified of being told he couldn’t train or can’t box, so he just persevered, but in the end it got to a point where he was sitting there saying to me in fights; ‘Jim I can’t bend my knee!’

“That was one of the reasons he was going to the ropes on a more regular basis than needed to be.

“He’s taken that knee into a lot of big fights, and I am not making excuses and he hasn’t made any excuses for poor performances or anything, but the difference now that the knee is getting very close to 100 percent is there for all to see.

“It’s probably about 90 percent now, but the difference is unreal.”

EOTTM (Eye of the Tiger Management) and Hennessy Sports are promoting the event.

The fight is being aired live on Fight Network in Canada, Wealth TV in the US and is available to watch online at via subscription.

Tickets are available at or at the Final Round Boxing Club at 613 371 1543. Prices range from $60, $85, $125, $250 and there are tables (10 seats) at $2000.

Tags: James DeGale image  
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Tonyu on 05-17-2013

I'm no fan of Degale and certain people think just because you won the gold in the amateurs you will automatically become world champ as a Pro this is not always the case - Degale does not impress me and…

Comment by taansend on 05-16-2013

After this bout let's make DeGale vs Dirrell (Andre). I'd have Andre a big favourite but it's a great fight for the winner & the loser (assuming he doesn't get beat too bad) would still have plenty of options. I…

Comment by Bodyshot3 on 05-16-2013

Building up some steam against Demers??? Sounds like a certain small ****ney boxing trainer (with a comedeic falsetto voice) has been out in the Canadian springtime woods and licking some illegal, brightly coloured fungus.

Comment by gmc_rfc_06 on 05-16-2013

Building steam? I like James but he's done nothing but lose steam since the Groves fight. He's now stuck in a crap promotion, stuck with an awful TV deal and you never know when he's even fighting.

Comment by Cobra_ on 05-16-2013

DeGale sucks. Fights nobodies.

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