Tommy Barber – London
Jimmy McDonnell, the trainer of 2008 gold medal Olympian and former British super middleweight champion James DeGale, has claimed that the Londoner is invigorated by training sessions with undefeated American, Floyd Mayweather Jr. Furthermore, McDonnell stated that DeGale – who has an EBU title challenge against Piotr Wilczewski on October 15 – is where he needs to be in terms of condition.
“James is a thorough professional… he’s been out to the States and has trained in Floyd Mayweather’s company,” McDonnell confirmed to iFilm London. “He’s seen what Floyd’s about and he lives by the sword that Mayweather goes by… James is always in very good shape, he’s not where he needs to be just yet, he is at that stage of the prep but he’s five weeks off where we need him but yea, at the moment he’s bang on schedule.”
DeGale (10-1-0, 8ko) aims to bounce back from a disappointing split decision defeat to bitter rival George Groves at the 02 Arena in May. A triumph over the WBO’s number two ranked super middleweight, Wilczewski, would not only help remedy the smudge on his record, but also see him become European champion whilst simultaneously boosting his own ranking of seven.
“The plan is fast forward,” McDonnell said, insisting that Groves is behind them. He then attempted to counter the notion that a shot at Wilczewski has come too soon for DeGale, who will only be boxing his 12th professional fight.
“If James had got the verdict against Groves – a lot of people think he should have – [promoter] Frank [Warren] would have gone the same route, this is a step on from Commonwealth level, James put his performance out there and didn’t get what we thought he should have got.
“Frank has weighed it up, Frank’s a got judge and he knows what James is about, he knows that James is a future world champion and [EBU belt] is part of that step so I think this is a massive fight for James. The opponent so far is the best he’s boxed, I’ve had a good study and he’s got a good fight on his hands. Physically and mentally he’s on it and he’s really excited about it as well, which is great.”
DeGale and Wilczewski (29-1-0, 10ko) battle on the undercard of Nathan Cleverly’s first defence of his WBO light heavyweight world championship at Liverpool’s Echo Arena.