George Groves’ name isn’t too far from discussion ahead of the February 23rd grudge-match between British super-middleweights James DeGale and Chris Eubank Junior. Groves, back in the gym according to his trainer Shane McGuigan, may well fight the winner of next month’s fight (in a rematch if it turns out to be DeGale; Degale losing a decision to the former WBA champ back in 2011) – while Eubank Jr. says the fight between he and DeGale is a more intense grudge-match than the first nasty and bad tempered fight between Groves and Carl Froch.
That might be a bit of stretch – that Froch/Groves rivalry really did capture the attention and interest of the entire nation; with the rematch selling out the cavernous Wembley Stadium – but there is nonetheless a genuine dislike between DeGale and Eubank Jr. Speaking with Express Sport, former British champ (and previous two time failed world title challenger) Eubank Jr. said that neither he nor DeGale can afford to lose on February 23rd.
“I think this is more of a grudge-match than [Froch/Groves]. This has been brewing for years and years and years so it’s very exciting now to get an opportunity now to put this kid in his place,” Eubank Jr. said. “We are at the top of our game, the top of the sport, the top of the division. This is a true grudge-match, neither of us want to lose, neither of us want to give away an inch.”
Eubank added how he feels his upcoming fight is very much “elite level,” and to some, this too may be something of a stretch. It’s a solid match-up for sure, but in truth neither DeGale nor Eubank Jr. are “the top of the division.” Callum Smith and Gilberto Ramirez are the two best 168 pounders in the sport right now, not these two. DeGale, a former champ, may well be past his best, while the jury is still out on whether or not Eubank was ever that good in the first place.
Again, it’s a good fight, and it should prove entertaining. But no way is DeGale/Eubank Jr. as fascinating, as edgy and as hard to pick as Froch/Groves was.