Dec 7 2012 By Nick Skoric
James DeGale Image 2
ON THE eve of his latest fight – James DeGale has come clean over an injury he kept secret for an entire year.
The Harlesden boxer and former Dale Youth Olympic champion thinks a knee problem was picked up on morning road runs, but hit back at critics who complained the European super-middleweight champion was second rate last time out in October.
DeGale laboured to a unanimous points decision in the second defence of his title against little fancied Hadillah Mohoumadi at Bluewater, Kent that demanded he fend off frequent attacks when pinned on the ropes.
The 26-year-old promised none of that this time out as he moves a step closer to a world title by taking on Fulgencio Zuniga tomorrow (Saturday) night for the vacant WBC Silver title.
DeGale told the Observer: “I am not going to stop on the ropes.
“I have had a small injury for the last year with my knee so I could not bend it properly.
“But in this fight you will now see me bopping and weaving a lot more effectively.”
The rejuvenated boxer wants to make a real statement with a crushing win over the experienced Zuniga at the Bonus Arena in Hull.
The durable Colombian has only lost world title contests against the likes of super-middleweight heavy hitters Lucian Bute and Kelly Pavlik.
“He has faced the big names and will bring a lot of experience and knockout power into the bout so I have trained extremely hard for Saturday,” said DeGale.
“It is a ranking belt and is seen like a type of interim title for one of the most prestigious world titles around.
“I am in a good position and you never know in a couple of fights I could finally have a world title shot.”
DeGale was pencilled in to fight Kenny Anderson for the British title on Saturday but the clash fell through at the last minute.
Both fighters were on the wrong end of defeats to Hammersmith Commonwealth champion George Groves, stripped of his British crown in September.
On paper, Anderson versus DeGale is an eliminator towards a rematch between the two old Dale Youth stable mates.
DeGale feels he still has unfinished business with the ‘Saint’ (Groves) after their highly disputed clash back in 2011.
“Groves does not want to fight me,” he said. “He got lucky last time out and does not need it in his life right now.”
Groves is out against Glen Johnson on December 15 at the Excel Arena, as he too marches his way towards the tasty titles in the
DeGale is currently ranked third in the world by the WBC – but next stop is Hull and high water.