James DeGale has opened up on his rivalry with Chris Eubank Jr and the bizarre Facebook message that he received from ‘Next Gen’ after his loss to George Groves back in 2011.
DeGale, 32, faces his British rival in a non-title contest at London’s O2 Arena on February 23, after the Olympic gold medallist vacated his IBF super-middleweight title in July last year to pursue more money and bigger names in the ring.
Eubank Jr, 29, bounced back after his devastating loss to George Groves in the World Boxing Super Series with a win against Irishman JJ McDonagh.
Eubank Jr accused McDonagh of faking an injury to his shoulder to get out the ring quickly with his share of the purse after the fight was stopped after round 3.
The rivalry between DeGale and Eubank Jr originated back in 2011 after Eubank sent ‘Chunky’ a long message via social media, complementing the gold medallist on his character and stating that it was fate that the pair would meet in the ring.
DeGale spoke to iFL TV regarding his early clashes with ‘Next Gen’ and the strange behaviour his compatriot has shown towards him.
“After I lost to Groves in 2011, he (Eubank Jr) sent me this big, long essay on Facebook. He was half- licking my *** and then telling me he’s ready to fight. This guy is mad.
“He said: ‘James, please carry on being who you want to be, one day we’re going to box and make loads of money. Losses don’t matter, you’ll me a comeback.’
“Next he tells me he wants to get in the ring and fight me.
(DeGale talks about the message from 32:25 onwards)
“The build up to the Groves fight I was running my mouth, it all got a bit heated and I came across as an idiot. He (Eubank Jr) was telling me to carry on being an idiot.
“The only reason why I’m bringing this up is because this guy is a nutter, he’s a bit weird and I want people to know that.
“After the Groves loss he sent me the message, then a year late he came and sparred me. A day later he stuck it out on Twitter that he schooled me.
“He knew this was going to happen, he was building it up from then….so it’s all come true.”
Above, from 8:45 onwards, you can hear Eubank Jr's response to DeGale talking about the Facebook message.
The pair have since traded trash talk away from the ring on numerous occasions, but now they will finally have the chance to settle their feud for good in the first major UK event of the new deal between ITV and Harmon Sports’ Premier Boxing Champions.