By Keith Idec
James DeGale couldn’t participate in the World Boxing Super Series even if he wanted to do that because he had a shoulder injury that required surgery in July.
When the WBSS’ super middleweight tournament is over, however, DeGale wants to fight the winner. If that’s the survivor of a semifinal between British champions George Groves and Chris Eubank Jr. or Callum Smith, all the better.
DeGale discussed facing the winner of that tournament Monday during a press conference to announce his return to the ring December 9 at Copper Box Arena in London. DeGale (23-1-1, 14 KOs), who recently re-signed with promoter Frank Warren, hasn’t fought since settling for a 12-round draw with Badou Jack (22-1-2, 13 KOs) in their super middleweight title unification fight January 14 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The opponent for DeGale’s first fight in nearly 11 months hasn’t been secured.
“I’ve been craving to come back and fight,” DeGale said Monday, according to London’s Daily Mail. “I perform best at home. I have done the U.S. thing. It’s just the right time for me to start fighting back home. I want the biggest fights and the biggest money because I am recognized as the No. 1 super middleweight in the world. I want the winner of the ‘World Series.’ Eubank, Groves and Smith, they’re all in there. Maybe at Arsenal [soccer stadium].”
The winner of the WBSS semifinal between London’s Groves (27-3, 20 KOs), the WBA 168-pound champion, and Brighton’s Eubank (26-1, 20 KOs), the IBO super middleweight champion, will advance to the final to face whoever wins between Liverpool’s Smith (23-0, 17 KOs) and Germany’s Juergen Braehmer (49-3, 35 KOs).
Representatives for DeGale, the IBF super middleweight champion, and Smith discussed a July 1 bout before it was determined DeGale needed surgery on his right shoulder.
DeGale, 31, is most interested in facing Groves because a rematch would grant DeGale a chance to avenge his lone loss. Groves defeated DeGale, a 2008 Olympic gold medalist, by 12-round majority decision in May 2011 in London.
“I’d prefer Groves to win because then we can do it again,” DeGale said. “It’d be a massive fight and we can put the record straight.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.