James DeGale, who for this writer is Britain’s best and most exciting 168lb fighter, has today been talking to Sky Sports in the UK ahead of his attempt at shattering Andre Dirrell’s “American dream” when the two men meet for the vacant IBF world title on May 23rd in Boston, Mass.
DeGale will travel Stateside after purse bids for the fight were won by Warriors Boxing in an extraordinary $3 million show of financial strength by the outfit who are closely affiliated with influential manager Al Haymon.
However, not being the hometown hero on fight night is not fazing the London born Olympic gold medallist, who is assuring the British public that his mind is solely on the task ahead, and public talk of him re-matching bitter rival George Groves can wait until after he has taken care of the job in hand.
The man drawing confidence from the Stateside venue will be Dirrell, who himself has had to swallow a bitter pill on British soil in the past. Many British fans will remember him from his 2009 fight with Nottingham’s Carl Froch as part of the Super Six tournament. On the night the American lost his undefeated record when “The Cobra” walked away with a hotly disputed SD victory, and in the eyes of many, (Brits included) Dirrell was extremely unlucky to end up the loser. It is therefore obvious that Warriors Boxing will have listened to Dirrell’s concerns about once again travelling here, and that was reflected in their winning bid.
DeGale said to Sky.
“Once you’ve won the title its about building and unifying and being in those great, exciting fights. That’s what I plan to do, but first I need to get past Dirrell which is a hard, hard task in itself.”
After a series of impressive outings recently, including a sensational knockout of rising American Brandon Gonzales a year ago, I fully expect the Jim McDonnell trained man to come back from Boston with the belt around his waist. I believe DeGale can turn road warrior in much the same way that Kell Brook did when he travelled out to sunny Carson, California to dethrone Shawn Porter, albeit in a completely different style of fight.
As his comments suggest he will only then be looking to set up a dream re-match with George Groves, whom he dropped a narrow MD to in 2011. Groves himself, mandatory for the WBC belt held by Dirrell’s brother Anthony, is sitting out Dirrell’s voluntary defence to Swede Badou Jack later this month, but hopes to beat the winner of that fight later this year.
Should both Brits then emerge as world 168lb champions, we could have a fight to rival any in recent British history in terms of magnitude and appeal. Yet let’s not get too carried away. There’s a long way to go and a lot to happen until then! But Eddie Hearn can smell the PPV money already!!
Twitter @undilutedpoison Thanks for reading.