James DeGale insists the retirement of George Groves hasn’t rattled him

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JAMES DEGALE will consider retirement after next week’s grudge match with Chris Eubank Jr.

The 33-year-old finally fights his long-term rival at London’s O2 Arena on February 23, and could then end his decorated career regardless of the outcome.

DeGale demonstrated potential signs of decline in his two fights against Caleb Truax, which came after a bruising draw with Badou Jack and has since been followed by him vacating his IBF super-middleweight title and the retirement of another rival, George Groves.

James DeGale, right, in action against Caleb Truax
DeGale, right, in action against Caleb Truax (Steven Paston/PA)

Given Groves had appeared a likely future opponent, DeGale – who previously said that the loser of next week’s fight will have no choice but to retire – will have few remaining lucrative options and accepts that his career is nearing its end.

“I’m going to get this good win,” the Olympic gold medallist told Press Association Sport. “After this good win I’ll maybe knock it on the head. I don’t know.

“I could go on to have another three or four fights; I’m not too sure. I’m in a good position where I’m happy and content in what I’ve done with my career. I’ve left my mark. I’m sitting nice. I’ve always said I’m taking every fight as it comes.

“The hunger and desire hasn’t been stronger. I’ve been training for this fight for a long, long time. Mentally I’m ready; physically I’m ready, I’m healthy. There’s a lot of questions hanging over this fight as well, but the main one is how much have I got left? Am I declining, am I shot? We’ll see.”

James DeGale and Chris Eubank Jr go head-to-head at the O2 Arena on February 23
DeGale and Eubank Jr go head-to-head at the O2 Arena on February 23 (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

After he announced his retirement, Groves had questioned whether his decision would affect DeGale’s motivation given his long-term desire to avenge a narrow points defeat dating back to 2011, but asked about that development, DeGale said: “I didn’t feel anything.

“I didn’t even think about it; I’m concentrating on my fight and what I want to do. I don’t care about George Groves’ career; he’s retired. He thought it was the right time to get out of it and he’s knocked it on the head.

“But George Groves is a doughnut; he ain’t a nice person. I saw an interview where he said he announced his retirement then to demoralise me, and to flatten me. What kind of person does that? He’s a weirdo.”

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