Chris Eubank Jr and James DeGale will clash this Saturday at the O2 Arena in a grudge match that has been years in the making.
The IBO super-middleweight title will be on the line as Eubank Jr looks to secure his first victory over a top British star with losses to Billy Joe Saunders and George Groves on his CV.
For DeGale, he is a former Olympic gold medallist and two-time world champion.
Speaking to Gareth A. Davies, Chunky insisted that if he could not beat the rising Eubank Jr, he will retire from boxing.
“A lot of people are asking why I’m talking about retirement, but I’m one of those fighters that will know when to knock it on the head,” explained DeGale.
“I’m not going to be one of these fighters that will stay in boxing far too long and starts to tarnish his legacy. If I lose, where else would I go? I’ve just lost to Chris Eubank. When he loses, he’s going to find it difficult to come back. I’ve done everything in this sport. I’ve left my mark in boxing. I’m a history man. British. Olympic. Two-time world champion. To box on wouldn’t make any sense.”
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Stylistically, this has the makings of a great fight. DeGale is the pure boxer with the skill to put Eubank Jr away in many eyes while Next Gen’s conditioning is up there with the best in the sport. Given DeGale’s occasional trouble in the middle rounds, it could play into Eubank Jr’s hands.
DeGale insists that his fight with Eubank “ain’t for a pay day”. He added: “I’m still hungry. Obviously I’m getting older. I can’t do what I was doing at 22. No 10-mile runs or 40 rounds of sparring a week. I’m training smarter now and honestly, I feel great. I can honestly say that. Boxers say that when they’re preparing for a fight, but I can honestly say I’m feeling fantastic. And I intend to put on a boxing masterclass.”
DeGale isn’t taking Eubank lightly at all and he knows his opponent’s tenacity will test anyone. “If I’m shot, I’ll get found out. If I am not the best or on a decline, I’ll get found out,” admitted DeGale.
“The thing about boxing is that it’s the hardest profession. It’s the mental side. It don’t just affect you, it affects your team and your family. It’s the hardest sport in the world and sometimes it is unforgiving. That’s why you’ve got to know the right time to call it a day.”
Eubank Jr has taunted DeGale on Twitter as we enter fight week, saying: “Only 5 more days until you get to retire James. It’s ok though you had a good run… just try not to cheat the fans & run around the ring all night,” no doubt in reference to his loss to Caleb Truax in late 2017.
DeGale is yet to respond on social media to the jab, but the decorated Londonder may well do his talking in the ring on Saturday.