By Elliot Foster
James DeGale has denied that he is just boxing for money – despite admitting to giving up his world title to chase money-spinning fights.
The 32-year-old won back his prized belt in Las Vegas last year with victory in his rematch against Caleb Truax.
DeGale was dethroned by the unheralded American back in December 2017 in London but he quickly won the return in April.
And he will fight Chris Eubank Jr. on February 23 at the O2 Arena in London, with the vacant IBO super-middleweight crown set to be at stake.
Harlesden man DeGale, who still has designs on a rematch with George Groves, his former amateur team-mate who beat him in the paid code back in 2011, says that he has been promised another world title challenge before his days are done after giving up the coveted red, white and gold strap rather than facing his dangerous mandatory challenger Jose Uzcategui.
Uzcategui, who was made champion in the wake of 'Chunky's' reliquishment, takes on Caleb Plant at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on January 13, exclusively live on ITV4 in the UK, in his first defence.
“Everyone thinks this is my last fight and that I am just cashing out. It’s annoying me,” DeGale said when the fight was confirmed.
“I gave up my title because my adviser Al Haymon told me who I was fighting and how much I was getting and it was annoying.”
The show will be screened exclusively live on ITV Box Office as part of ITV Sport’s groundbreaking new deal with Haymon Sports and Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) to bring exclusive coverage of exciting PBC world-class boxing events to ITV viewers and fight fans in the UK for the next three years.
“Then, two days later, he came back and said, ‘I have someone better for you, I have Eubank.’” DeGale continued. “It’s for much more money and I had to give up my title, but I said ‘yes’ and he has promised me another title shot before the end of my career.”
The former British, Commonwealth, European and two-time world champion aims to go out on a high, saying that he believes he far more in the tank ahead of the Eubank Jr. showdown, which has been long in the making and goes back to an infamous sparring session shortly after DeGale's aforementioned defeat to Groves.
“I’m financially nice. I’ve not got AJ [Anthony Joshua] millions, but I’m milled up,” he chuckled. “It’s a difficult one, knowing what to do after boxing, but I’m going to f*** Eubank up first and then I’m probably going to beat George Groves and call it a day. That would be perfect.
“Or beat Eubank, then another shot at a world title, then knock it on the head.”