By Edward Chaykovsky
IBF super middleweight champion James DeGale is rejecting a recent claim by middleweight contender Chris Eubank Jr., who says he beat up DeGale so bad in a sparring session that Olympic gold medal winner threw him out of his gym.
Eubank (22-1, 17KOs) is scheduled to defend his British middleweight title against the unbeaten Tom Doran at The O2 Arena on the undercard of Anthony Joshua vs. Dominic Breazeale. He wants to get in the ring with WBC/WBA/IBO/IBF middleweight champion Gennady 'GGG' Golovkin in the fall.
DeGale is moving in the direction of a unification with WBC champion Badou Jack in the fall.
Eubank Jr. claimed that he was never going to make the incident public, because he embarrassed DeGale in such an overwhelming way in the gym - but says DeGale was so disrespectful after their spar that he felt it was necessary to let everyone know exactly what happened when they traded punches in the gym.
"The story is that I was invited to his gym a few years back to spar with him. I went in there and schooled him, beat him up. He wasn't happy about it - he was embarrassed and upset," Eubank Jr. told Sky Sports.
"After the sparring session, he basically tried to kick me out of his gym. Because of how disrespectful he was towards me and my father at his gym, I decided to let people know what had gone down in sparring that day.
"Usually, what happens in the gym stays in the gym and I never talk about what goes on in my sparring sessions but because of the way he acted, I decided to let everybody know. Since then, we've always clashed."
DeGale rejects his version of the story. The former Olympian feels Eubank and his father are fabricating the truth to get attention. He says Eubank and his father were ejected from the gym for creating a scene after the sparring session had concluded.
"It was about three years ago and I can't remember, but I think he'd just turned professional," DeGale told Sky Sports in an exclusive interview. "He bought his dad with him and I don't need to explain what he's like, everyone knows all about him. Anyway, we had a spar and I swear I am not lying to you, I was taking it easy. I bossed the spar and after six rounds, Eubank Jr was going to get out of the ring but his dad made him do the eight rounds.
"I am actually confused and bamboozled where this guy has got this from. One thing I do know is his dad made him do the eight rounds and then as soon as we got out of the ring, his dad just went off on one, disrespecting me. He was nasty about me and my dad was doing him a favour, he came to my gym, his dad was disrespectful so I ran them out of my gym. I basically told him: 'Don't come to my gym, so you can spar me and then let your father behave like that.'
"I've heard plenty of things said about me in boxing - and I am sure you know who and where they often come from - but this Eubank rubbish is probably in the top three. But it's typical. They are calling out world champions... me, [Gennady] Golovkin, Billy Joe Saunders, but he is defending his British title against Tom Doran, who is unbeaten. Him and his father are on a different planet - it's all about publicity for his son. To call out James DeGale and then say he schooled me in sparring is one of the most stupid things I've heard."