By Cihat Gemici
In several recent interviews, IBF super middleweight world champion James DeGale revealed that he wants to have a unification with WBC champion David Benavidez in the first quarter of next year.
DeGale (23-1-1, 14 KOs) returns late tonight at Copperbox in London, when he faces Caleb Truax.
Benavidez (19-0, 17 KOs) was in the ring back in September when he won a close twelve round decision over Ronald Gavril to capture the vacant WBC title.
Benavidez and Gavril are slated to have a rematch on January 27, to set the record straight as to which of them actually deserved the decision in their first encounter.
Benavidez’s manager, Sampson Lewkowicz, gave his take on the possible unification bout.
He says his boxer is fully focused on the Gavril rematch. And after that, they are possibly going to have a mandatory fight with the winner of the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight tournament.
The semi-finals are set, with George Groves facing Chris Eubank Jr. and Callum Smith fighting Juergen Braehmer. Lewkowicz believes Eubank Jr. will win and then become the mandatory fight for Benavidez.
"The way I work is I always respect the challenger. I’ll never look past the challenger as if he doesn’t exist. For us, Gavril is the most important fight on January 27. After Gavril fight I’d like to see what is the value of the next fight. It’s business. Honestly, [at this moment] I won't discuss with Benavidez's team on what's the next. Most of the fighters who underestimate their opponents are the ones who lose," Lewkowicz told BoxingScene.com.
"My message to DeGale is to fight his fight. But we should wait to see. For instance Sergio Martinez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. was a good fight for both, but this fight might not be a good fight, economically, for either one. We need to wait and see how it develops. I will not negotiate in the press. Negotiations in the press is one point less for DeGale. Who represents DeGale? Nobody called me.
"There is an important issue here. We will have a mandatory defense against the WBSS champion. I respect each of one of them in the WBSS. Whoever wins the Ali Trophy, we have mandatory position against him. I strongly believe that Eubank Jr. will be the winner. I didn’t see his only one fight against Avni Yildirim. He is still young and he is really good talent. Eubank Jr. vs. Smith will be the final round for me. Eubank Jr. is good kid and I believe he is champion inside and outside."