By Elliot Foster
James DeGale and Chris Eubank Jr. will meet next month.
The super-middleweight showdown between the former IBF champion and the ex-IBO belt-holder was formally announced at a press conference on Thursday.
DeGale, who twice has held the IBF belt on two occasions, vacated that title in July to chase money-spinning outings in the final phase of his career. He is set to come up against the son of former world champion Chris Eubank on February 23, live on ITV Box Office. DeGale-Eubank will take place at O2 Arena in London.
DeGale (25-2-1, 15 KOs), a 2008 Olympic gold medalist, kept himself busy with a tune-up fight against Fidel Monterrosa Munoz in Ontario, California in September. He stopped his opponent in the third round. DeGale took that fight once it became clear his fight with the former IBO champion – who was last in action against JJ McDonagh at the King Abdullah Sport City Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, back in September – wasn’t going to happen at the back end of 2018.
When it was revealed Thursday, both fighters had plenty to say.
“This fight has been a long time coming,” DeGale said. “The fans and a lot of people have been calling for this fight and Eubank Jr. has been calling for this fight for some time. When he first turned professional, this guy was calling me out.
“He’s very deluded and on fight night I will get the chance to finish him good and proper because after he has lost to me, I’m not sure where he is going to go. I look forward to it and I hope he is ready.”
The fight will happen at the O2 Arena, rather than at the Olympia in Kensington, London, where it originally looked destined to go down. It will top the bill of the first show that is part of the three-year deal the terrestrial broadcaster has just signed with Haymon Sports and Premier Boxing Champions.
Poxon Sports, the exclusive promoter of all UK PBC events on ITV, will be the name on the poster for the show.
“At this stage of my career, big fights and fan-favorite fights are the only thing that I’m looking for, and this fight has been four or five years in the making,” said Eubank Jr., who’s 27-2 (21 KOs). “It’s going to be a painful lesson for [James]. I’ve been calling for this fight for years, I’ve been training to beat him for years, I know everything about him, I know his weaknesses, and this is going to be fun.”
Elliot Foster is the UK Editor for BoxingScene.com and boxing correspondent for Liverpool ECHO.