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What Next For DeGale?
After defeat to George Groves, where does the Olympic champion go from here?
Posted May 31, 2011 by Chris White
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After losing his British super-middleweight title to George Groves last week, and being denied an immediate rematch by the British Boxing Board of Control, James DeGale finds himself at a crossroads in his career.
The Olympic gold medallist was beaten in a narrow points decision by Groves at the O2 Arena, and may have to take the same route that another Olympic gold medallist, Amir Khan, took on his way back to the top.
When Khan lost his first professional fight, he took a step back and looked at which way to go, before settling into the routine that has got him to being the world light welterweight champion. Khan set up a fight that he was likely to win, to get the confidence back, then took on Marco Antonio Barrera – a big name boxer who was reaching the end of his career – before winning his world title. Khan also parted from his trainer, joining up with Freddie Roach, and moved to America to train.
This could be the ideal path for DeGale to follow. Having offended the majority of the British fans with his attitude before and after the Groves fight, and even during with his lack of attacking spark, seemingly waiting for the bell to go so he could celebrate victory, some time out of the British ring might do him good. Khan remodelled his style, fitness and training methods by moving out to America and it’s done him no harm at all.
A trainer like Adam Booth – who works with Groves and world heavyweight champion David Haye – might be a good option for DeGale. Booth masterminded Haye’s victory over the giant Nicolay Valuev and helped Groves to tactically beat DeGale also.
Even getting away from the British super-middleweight scene could be a good move. He wanted the rematch with Groves and that has been thrown out by the BBofC, and as Groves rightly said “what does he want, best out of 3, then 5?” James needs to move on. Yes, he is the Olympic gold medallist from Beijing, congratulations, you thoroughly deserved it, and it’s a fantastic achievement. But Groves beat him. It’s alright doing all the interviews in the days after the fight where he looked distraught and robbed of his title, but he lost. It’s time to forget, move on, and improve.