One day to go until 2019’s first big domestic fight of the year when James DeGale takes on Chris Eubank Jr. for the IBO Super-middleweight title.
After BT Sport’s press conference, it was confirmed Billy Joe Saunders will make a smart move up to Super-middleweight for the vacant WBO strap making it a big week in the division.
The move is a clever one for Saunders. Win the WBO title in what should be a fairly straightforward night against Shefat Isufi, then face the winner of DeGale-Eubank. If you want an idea of Isufi’s level, he lost to a man who fought Anthony Yarde.
The card features a return for Lee Selby as well as a very intriguing clash between Joe Joyce and Bermane Stiverne. If we are being honest, Stiverne is merely going to be a name that looks good on Joyce’s record. It’s intriguing in the sense that we will find out what Stiverne has left and whether he can provide a test for Joyce. However, it seems like the former WBC World Champion is after nothing more than a payday to face the promising Brit.
Matchmaking in boxing can be a hazardous job. Putting prospects like Joe Joyce in with seasoned pros can be disastrous. Despite Stiverne being a former champ, it’s not much different to when Anthony Joshua faced Kevin Johnson. Albeit a very washed down and over the hill Kevin Johnson, but it is hard to see what Stiverne really has left in the tank.
Onto the big one and James DeGale has declared that he ‘will retire’ should he lose to Eubank Jr. on Saturday.
DeGale saw his old rival George Groves hang up his gloves only two weeks ago and intends to do the same if comes up short in the Super-middleweight grudge match.
At the end of the day what else can DeGale do? He is a former Olympic, British and 2-time World Champion, there is nothing left for him to prove.
In a way it is a shame that we never got the highly anticipated rematch between him and his old friend George Groves. They never liked each other, and both claim they never will, but after Groves’ controversial decision win back in 2014, what a fight the rematch could have been despite DeGale insisting his career ‘doesn’t need George Groves.’
The frustrating thing about Eubank is that he has had the potential to be much better than he is. He was outworked by George Groves last year, losing in the WBSS, but you can see he has the ability. We can call that the historic Eubank arrogance I suppose in Jr. never using a recognised trainer.
Now with little-known trainer Nate Vasquez, what a huge fight a rematch with Billy Joe Saunders could be if he beats DeGale. When they met back in 2014 for the British Middleweight title, Saunders just edged a points decision. This time, however, it would be a tad more tantalising for the WBO Super-middleweight belt. Jr. first claimed ahead of their first fight that he would destroy Golovkin and conquer the world without the use of a trainer, all whilst Ronnie Davis – a very good and renowned trainer – was sat next to him, Four years on, he has finally decided he needs help and has challenged Vasquez with the task, who he met at Mayweather’s gym.