Hellraiser Boxing News | The Hellraiser Weekender: Chunky Returns To Show He's The Star On The Super-Middle Christmas Tree
The Hellraiser Weekender: Chris Waddams looks at James DeGale's position in the super middleweight division ahead of his fight with Caleb Truax on December 9th.
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James DeGale sits atop the domestic, and arguably world, Super-Middleweight scene. Unfortunately for the man known affectionately as Chunky, that seat has all too often been in the waiting room of a hospital, due to a series of injuries sustained by the 2008 Olympic Gold medallist. Nonetheless, there he proudly sits. In his tenure as the IBF king he has seen his long time rival George Groves finally pick up a legitimate version of the world title, at the forth time of asking, Callum Smith and Chris Eubank Jr pick up fringe level world titles and Jamie Cox, Paul Smith Jr and Martin Murray fail in their attempts to join him at the top.
DeGale rarely gets the credit he deserves as “The Man” in the Super-Middleweight division. He won the title on the road and has defended it successfully twice as the away fighter too. He was unlucky to get a draw in his last outing against Badou Jack, as although he was hurt at the end, if he had managed to stay on his feet he would have won on points (in the end DeGale was ahead on one score card, but the other two had it level- a majority draw result). People saw weakness in that effort but what we have since found out that DeGale was again carrying an injury in that fight, which is also the reason he hasn’t fought since. Add to that fact that Badou Jack moved up in weight and easily got rid of two time world champion Nathan Cleverly to become the WBA World Light-Heavyweight Champion; DeGale should be applauded for his efforts.
The shoulder injury sustained against Jack saw a voluntary defence against Callum Smith fall through and also scuppered any chance of DeGale featuring in the WBSS Super-Middleweight competition, a competition that has our (now) three other belt holders all with arguable chances to go on and win the whole thing and probably shift James from his perch at the top of the world and domestic Super- Middleweight pile. Played correctly, we could be at the dawn of a classic British era in the division.
DeGale needs to be patient. A fight with the eventual winner of the WBSS would be a very easy one to make. Fortunately patient is what it seems DeGale is being. His fight this Saturday night is a “Homecoming” on two levels:
It’s his first fight on UK soil since he beat Marco Antonio Periban on the Bellew Cleverly 2 card: a card not memorable for an awful lot.
He’s back with Frank Warren, the man he turned over as a pro with.
Whether this link up with Warren is a long term thing is yet to be seen, but Warren's platform is probably the best one for Chunky as it stands. Warren is crying out for more quality since the BT deal was sorted and as much as he has quality prospects coming through, having a deal with DeGale shows his intent to get back to the top.
Both DeGale and Warren could use each other in that search for the top and that search starts this Saturday at the Copperbox. The man representing the first hurdle: Caleb Truax
Truax has a respectable record of 28-3-2 (18) with all three losses coming against guys who have dinned at the top table. He has eighteen knockout victories and two of his losses were by stoppage. Having just been ranked high enough to be able to get the nod to be a voluntary defence, Truax will be a heavy betting underdog. But when he’s won, he’s won in style. Including his two losses in this time; you have to go back to July 2014 for the last time he heard the last bell in a fight. You would assume from that 3 year run that he’s an entertaining fighter with a “Stop or be stopped” mentality. But in his 12th round TKO loss to Daniel Jacobs he was soundly outboxed and was on his way to a lopsided points loss before the Miracle Man finished it all with 42 seconds left to go.
This fight has been taken in principle for DeGale to look good, shed some rust, keep his belt and go into 2018 with high hopes of some mouth watering domestic fights in the pipeline. If a Brit wins the WBSS, a fight against any three of the contestants would be a huge fight, especially if it lead to an eventual unification bout. 2018 could be the year that sparks a domestic scene much like the glory days of the 90s with Eubank, Benn, Watson and Collins. Although Caleb Truax could have something to say about all of that, and must not be overlooked.
Chunky needs to keep focused in this fight, look good and come out victorious, or his perch at the top of the Super-Middleweight scene will be taken away from him with no questions asked in two months time. Even if that does happen, at present the four British fighters campaigning at world level makes for a very starry future. The current status quo and power players will shift and sway as they always do, but with DeGale getting first crack at proving his star quality, the future may soon enough rival the past.
Posted: 8th Dec 2017
NEXT UP: Night of Thunder
4th May 2019 00:00, York Hall, 5 Old Ford Road, E2 9PJ
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