James DeGale Vacates IBF Title

Who will he target?
James DeGale after his most recent victory.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about being a boxing fan it’s to expect the unexpected, and it was just that this morning as I woke to the shock news that IBF Super-Middleweight Champion James DeGale was relinquishing his title after releasing a statement on his various social media platforms.

Having won back the title he’d previously lost, in a rematch with Caleb Truax in April of this year it was generally thought that ‘Chunky’ would meet the winner of the World Boxing Super Series final between George Groves and Callum Smith. But with Groves recovering from shoulder surgery after dislocating it during his semi-final win over Chris Eubank Jr and the fight originally scheduled for this month, but with no firm date in place DeGale it seems is chasing the big purses as opposed to the titles and doesn’t want to be left on the shelf waiting.

There are several rumours doing the rounds that he will actually replace George Groves in the WBSS final and face Callum Smith but having declined the chance to take part in this tournament originally it does seem that this is unlikely. Another is that with promoters the Sauerland’s announcing that there will be three different weight class tournaments as opposed to the original two during the next round of World Boxing Super Series, and with only the Light-Welterweight and Bantamweight tournaments announced thus far, that the third as yet to be confirmed will be in Light-Heavyweight division with DeGale possibly moving up to 175 to take part in the tournament. Again I’m unsure that this is the news that DeGale alluded to in his post when he said that he’s got ‘some exciting news to announce soon’. Especially as when during his post fight interview after drawing with Badou Jack in January of last year he didn’t seem keen on the idea of moving up in weight when asked.

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Speculation is continuing to mount that the ‘news’ he’s referring to is an all-British fight with fellow Londoner Billy-Joe Saunders, the current WBO Middleweight World Champion that would take place at a catchweight, with a September clash at the O2 Arena being suggested for a potential venue. This was mentioned recently by both men’s promoter Frank Warren who recently said that this is one of several potential fights for both men.

With an expected sold out O2 and a fight than neither man would lose too much credibility for if they lost then I think it’s the most likely thing to happen. As a fan of James DeGale I would much rather he waited for either Groves or Smith, or even target one of the other champions in the Super-Middleweight division in David Benavidez or Gilberto Ramirez, or even Chris Eubank Jr. Whilst Billy-Joe would surely of saved face by actually facing Martin Murray as promised, rather than walking away from a fight with him after twice pulling out through injury in the last few months.

There are also many other big names such as Danny Jacobs, Ryo Murata, and Jermall Charlo not to mention the fight he craves most, the winner of the Gennady Golovkin and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez rematch due for September also surely not a million miles away as he looks to assert himself in the twilight of his career.

As we wait for the actual confirmation of a forthcoming fight for DeGale I hope it’s one that will get us excited and a fight we can really look forward to. Personally as a long time fan of James’ I hope it’s not the Billy-Joe Saunders fight as for me there’s bigger and better fights out there for him as already mentioned, but I can’t help but think I’ll be feeling let down when the news breaks in the near future, but will continue to support James DeGale and cheer him on regardless. Who needs world titles anyway?

Be Sure to Follow More of Richard Lewis’ Work at Fight Post

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