James DeGale: I’ll hang my gloves up for good in a few years

PUBLISHED: 14:00 21 December 2016

James DeGale during the work out at Stonebridge ABC, London.

James DeGale during the work out at Stonebridge ABC, London.

PA Wire/PA Images

James DeGale has revealed he only plans on spending a couple more years in boxing before hanging up his gloves.

The 30-year-old Harlesden fighter puts his IBF world super-middleweight title on the line when he takes on WBC champion Badou Jack in a huge unification clash at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on January 14.

And while DeGale admits boxing is his life, he says it won’t be too long before he exits the sport for good.

He told the Times: “Listen, boxing is my life and all I have ever really known but I don’t want to be in this for a long time.

“It’s a hard game and I’m starting to ache. I’m only 30 but I’m moaning. It’s horrible getting fit and I hate doing it. But now I’m fit and ready to fight I love it. That’s why I’m so up and down, I think I’m bipolar, I have something wrong with me.

“A lot of fighters are not happy with what they achieved and they feel like they missed out on some big fights or the money.

“I know if I carry on the way I’m going I won’t feel like that. If I keep on winning and keep on earning money – I’ll be gone in a couple of years.

“When I eventually retire I will miss the people coming up to me and giving respect, the love and support they all give me.”

DeGale’s training camp ahead of his vital clash with Jack has gone very well, but he revealed that he has made one key change to his preparation this time around – something he says will make him a more dangerous proposition than in the past.

He added: “The only thing I am doing differently this time is that I’ve been doing strength and conditioning work for the first time as a professional – I last did it when I won gold at the Olympics [in 2008]. The only thing I have done up until now is what they call the Holyfield circuit with dumb bells.

“I feel that my body is stronger, I can feel the power when I spar, you will see on fight night the considerable improvements that I have made.

“I knew something was missing but could not put my finger on it until now. The fitness was there, the shots were there but towards the end of a fight I’d start feeling fatigued.

“After my last fight I gave myself some time off. It was a long summer although I was training a bit here and there.

“But that down time was what I needed to recharge my batteries. I needed a blow out so I had one, and I feel all the better for it.”

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