Back in 2012, James DeGale kicked Chris Eubank Jr out of his gym, starting a career-defining rivalry that will be settled at the O2 Arena on February 23.
It was recently announced that the two Brits would finally settle their differences in the ring, in a super-middleweight clash that is being described as the biggest British boxing rivalry since Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank.
The rivalry had initially started as healthy competition, with DeGale’s and Eubank Jr’s camps agreeing that the pair would spar for eight rounds, in order to aid the former's preparations for a bout to claim the European super-middleweight title.
However, the sparring session only lasted for six rounds, after which Eubank Jr exited the ring with no explanation, according to World Boxing News.
Following this, DeGale and his trainer decided to resume a normal session, which Eubank Jr then interrupted, jumping in the ring to shadow box DeGale.
The London-born fighter saw this as a massive sign of disrespect, especially from a man who had only five professional fights to his name, as Eubank Jr did at the time, and kicked him out of his gym.
Further disrespect was then shown by Eubank Jr when he broke the unwritten rule of boxing and publicly discussed the sparring session, tweeting that he had ‘schooled’ DeGale.
DeGale still denies that claim to this day, but what happened during that exchange has fuelled a rivalry that has intrigued boxing fans for years.
Both fighters will be looking at this bout to reboot their career following recent setbacks.
DeGale, the former two-time IBF world super-middleweight and Olympic gold medal winner, suffered a shock defeat to Caleb Truax in 2017 on his return from injury, and whilst he won the rematch, he will be looking to establish his name amongst the top super-middleweights once more.
For Eubank Jr, this is a chance to back up his claims that he outfought his compatriot during that sparring session in 2012, whilst also responding to his defeat to George Groves during his latest fight on British soil.