British boxing rivals James DeGale and George Groves came face to face yesterday on Sky Sports Ringside show and traded insults as the build up to there forthcoming fight was announced for May 21 at the O2 Arena in London.
Their feud has been simmering since there days as amateur gym mates and yesterday things got very heated as they traded insults, while also in the Ringside studio to both pick next weeks ‘Prizefighter’ draw. www.britishboxers.co.uk read more
The fight and bad blood between the pair is being talked about as a copy of Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank bitter disdain and fight hype in the Halcyon days of British boxing’s best of enemies.
But yesterdays handbags didn’t quiet get the boxing juices flowing like the theatre that ‘The Dark Destroyer and Simply the Best’ gave us, then it was done without comparison, with a true heart on the sleeve venom. I’m not saying this pair don’t equally hate each other and they do have a history to back up there case.
But it all seemed a little bit too staged and DeGales cringing put downs and sometimes below the belt personal digs with tinges of an American accent breaking through, all was to get the more diplomatic Groves rattled and it did, although the ‘Ugly Ginger Kid’ as DeGale likes to call Groves, came out of it with a bit more dignity.
Boxing needs fights like this and when they both enter the ring in May the atmosphere in the O2 Arena will be fever pitch and could be one of the fights of the year, maybe even setting in place a dynasty to match the other historic super-middleweight battles of the past and with both only in the early stages of their professional careers could fester on for many years.
DeGale’s British super-middleweight title will be on the line, as well as Groves Commonwealth strap, but more importantly for both, pride and the unrelenting passion to have one over on each other, in what will be a fight for power and ego.
DeGale and Groves were club mates at West London’s Dale Youth ABC, but haven’t spoken since 2006, when Groves won their ABA Championships clash. Ironically DeGale was then, to Grove’s disappointment was then picked ahead of him for the 2008 Olympics, ‘Chunky’ went on to win the gold medal, a chance Groves felt he should have had.
The animosity between the pair is genuine, and Groves, 22, is confident that the history between the pair and the fact he beat his rival as an amateur, will give him the advantage going into this paid return.
“I’ve known James a long time now. There’s been a long rivalry and that’s why this fight has come so soon in our careers,” he said.
“It’s the biggest fight in British boxing right now.
“Everyone wants to smash DeGale’s face in. He’s the most arrogant, egotistical fighter out there.
“Our rivalry comes from the fact James DeGale was Olympic champion but number two in his own gym.
“When we fought there was a lot of hype about him, but look on YouTube. I beat him. It’s there for everyone to see.
“It was my first time in the ABAs and I was coming up against this double ABA champion, a Commonwealth bronze medallist.
“This delusion sets in when he says how he won the fight, when the truth is there for everyone to see.”
DeGale laughed off any case that Groves layed down in his defence.
“This is personal. If I’m brutally honest, George and me do not like each other,” said DeGale.
“He’s lived in my shadow for half his life. He’s always been the ugly kid behind James DeGale.
James DeGale vs George Groves Amateur Fight
“He’s going to be bitter and jealous and we have to sort it out in the ring.
“Ask any of the coaches in the gym, I used to play with George in sparring.
“When I was in the amateur gym I used to move around the ring and pick his head off.”
A fiery exchange saw Groves, the Commonwealth champion who trains alongside David Haye under the guidance of Adam Booth, heavily provoked by a boisterous DeGale.
“Ugly kid, you’re getting it! You’re getting it, moron! In real life you’re worse – look at you, ugly boy. Moron,” he said.
“You’ve got worse, ugly kid. You silly, ugly boy, you’re deluded.”
The unbeaten duo will be sharing top billing with Nathan Cleverly, who challenges German Juergen Braehmer for the WBO light-heavyweight title and a great undercard is expected to top off this night of boxing that promises to raise the roof.
Further big fights will be announced shortly. Ticket are priced at:
£500 – Ringside – £300 – Floor – £200 – Floor – £150 – Floor/Tier – £80 – Tier – £50 – Tier – £40 – Tier – and are available from: The O2 box office 0844 856 02
By Chris Maylett – www.britishboxers.co.uk
watch Groves vs DeGale amateur fight here