DeGale vows to make impressive maiden title defence over Bute
Lee Gormley | November 26th, 2015
James DeGale v Lucian Bute
- IBF super-middleweight title fight
- Sunday, November 29th
- Scheduled for: 03:00 GMT
- Videotron Centre, Quebec
- Live on Sky Sports 1
DeGale seeks strong maiden title defence
James DeGale makes his first IBF super-middleweight title defence in a daunting trip to Quebec to face home favourite Lucian Bute, but the reigning strap holder is aiming to make a strong statement towards the rest of the division on his travels.
In the early hours of Sunday morning, DeGale (21-1, 14 KOs) clashes with fellow southpaw Bute (32-2, 25 KOs) in his own backyard of Quebec City at the Videotron Centre, where the 35-year-old previous IBF title holder will look to reclaim his former strap.
‘Chunky’ confident on the road
Though the travelling London champion, who became the first British fighter ever to have won both an Olympic Gold medal and a professional world title in May when he outpointed Andre Dirrell for the vacant belt, is 11/8 with Coral for a successful points decision victory.
“I’m feeling real good. I got here last Wednesday and have done my last couple of hard sessions so it’s just about making weight and getting ready for Saturday,” stated ‘Chunky’ DeGale.
“The weather is very cold. I was in Miami before my last fight and was on the beach in a vest on my time off! It’s all good though. I’m just focused and ready to do the business.
“There is a bit of pressure. As my coach said, the easy bit is winning it and the hard bit is keeping it. I’ve come to his back yard to defend my title but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I like it when the pressure is on me.”
DeGale out to steal the show
On Saturday night Tyson Fury will finally collide with dominant heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in Germany, but DeGale is aiming to steal the headlines with a solid super-middleweight defence, and is evens to stop Bute early.
“I think Andre Dirrell was harder. He was more of a complete fighter and one of the best in the division. I think Bute is still good but he’s had his best days. I’m a fresh, young, confident fighter and I’m feeling good,” continued the defending champion.
“It’s a wicked night of boxing with Wladimir Klitschko v Tyson Fury and then me and Bute. Of course I’m hoping to steal the show. Keep on supporting. I won’t let you guys down.”
Hostile atmosphere for IBF champion
DeGale will face an intimidating atmosphere in Quebec as well as a formerly number one ranked super-middleweight champion in Bute during this weekend’s boxing action, and his opponent is 8/1 to reclaim his once-held crown by knockout.
The Canadian-based Romanian previously held the IBF title when he was at his peak and unbeaten up to then, but he was eventually stopped in five rounds by DeGale’s fellow Brit Carl Froch. Though Bute claims he is a changed fighter after taking a break from the sport and undertaking a new trainer in Howard Grant.
“I’m sure this break helped me a lot. When I look back, it was not good for me to accept fights with some injuries. Boxing is tough, you need to be 100 per cent healthy,” stated Bute.
Bute confident of upset
“[I spent my time away from the sport] just thinking about me. Before, when I became champion in 2007, I had no life. Every year, two or three fights. It was difficult for my body, to be in training camp for six years.
“This break helped me a lot, [to] enjoy my family, my friends, and now I’ve got some changes in my team, and I’m looking forward.
“I’m more confident, more focused in my head, determined. My new training gives me fresh energy. We changed some things in my boxing style, to be more aggressive, throw more combinations, and I feel the difference.”
Pressure on DeGale
In a match-up which Bute is 9/1 to gain the decision after 12 rounds, he feels the pressure is entirely on super-middleweight DeGale.
“Like I said, the pressure’s on him, he’s the world champion. Everything’s on my side. He has everything to lose,” he added.
DeGale is seeking a solid maiden defence of his IBF crown in the early hours of Sunday morning, after the dust has settled from Fury’s heavyweight showdown with Klitschko, on what ‘Chunky’ will hope will be another successful night in his ever-growing career.
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Coral’s top tip: James DeGale will want to finish the job early on his travels to an intimidating Quebec City, so back him at evens to stop Lucian Bute prematurely and defend his super-middleweight crown.