JAMES DeGALE is in California. The former world champion, who vacated his IBF super-middleweight title, is boxing Fidel Monterrosa Munoz at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario on Sunday (September 30). This may just be an eight rounder but it’s not a misstep. It’s part of the plan.

DeGale is testing his body, tuning up for a more significant contest in December. “I’ve got to take it extremely seriously and do a job on him. At the end of the year, something’s coming,” he tells Boxing News. “Test all my injuries have healed up. You can’t beat putting those little gloves on with no headgear and punching someone.”

“I gave up my title because we had different options,” he explained. “Me being me, I was going to fight him [his mandatory, Jose Uzcategui]. But if I’m brutally honest with you, I was going to get a quarter of the money I’ve been earning and it’s a dangerous fight. I spoke to my advisor [Al Haymon] and he said we’ve got better options.

“It’s always hard giving up a title but I will get another chance to box for another world title before I retire.”

“I’m going to get another chance to box for a world title very, very soon,” he promised. “I’m happy with it.”

Not this year but eventually he believes a rematch with old rival George Groves will be inevitable. “If we both get through our next couple of fights, for me my next couple of fights and George gets through his next one, I think we’d be stupid for it not to happen. If we let egos get in the way, or the politics of boxing, we’d be very, very stupid. You never know, listen George Groves is very hard to deal with so I’m not too sure if it will happen but we’d be stupid if it didn’t happen. I think boxing would like to see that one. It would be a great story as well, seven years on we’ve both been world champions, we’ve both had a couple of good wins, I think people will want to see it. But we’ll see,” DeGale said. “All it takes is one or two fights in boxing and you’re back.”

He will be an interested observer of George Groves and Callum Smith as they fight for the WBA super-middleweight title in the World Boxing Super Series final in Jeddah. “It’s a bit weird, two Brits boxing for a world title, in a big fight, a massive fight and it’s out in Saudi Arabia. It’s crazy, the boxing public obviously want to see Brits going for a world title. I can’t see why it’s in Saudi Arabia, because you can’t have a drink they’re not going to get people to go out to Saudi Arabia. It doesn’t make any sense. Obviously they must have made a deal with someone over there before it was announced,” he said. “They must have been committed to it. But if I’m being honest, it’s stupid.”

James DeGale

DeGale has warning from his own experience for Groves. He felt he’d come back too soon from a shoulder injury when he lost his world title to Caleb Truax in 2017. (He won it back in April of this year before vacating.)

“I’ve been thinking about his shoulder as well. If this shoulder holds up you have to pick him [to win], obviously going by the past couple of performances.  I’m just worried about this shoulder. Obviously my shoulder injury and his are different but it’s still a shoulder injury and he still had to have surgery. So I’m not too sure how the healing process has been with him. But with mine it took my ages, a year and a half and it’s only feeling normal now,” DeGale said. “Is it too soon? But if his shoulder is healthy and strong, it’s a real good fight but you’d have to say Groves.

“This is Smith’s big chance and let’s see if he can do it.”