George Groves congratulates James DeGale on stellar boxing career

George Groves v Callum Smith - Press Conference

George Groves has commended former super-middleweight rival James DeGale on a triumphant career in the ring just hours after the Olympic gold medalist announced his retirement from the sport.

DeGale lost on a unanimous points decision to Chris Eubank Jr on Saturday night at London’s O2 Arena where the two-time world champion was floored twice.

The 33-year-old (25-3-1, 15KOs) was the first professional British boxer to win Olympic gold before going on to win a world title in the pro ranks.

Groves had previously slated his former rival and confessed his delight that DeGale seemingly had no choice but to call it a day.

“I think James DeGale is a shell of the fighter he once was, and I feel like that was what he was on fight night,” said Groves, per Seconds Out.

“We’ll never have to see or hear from him again — and that suits me just fine.”

The former WBA super-middleweight champion called time on his career last month after losing his title to Callum Smith in September.

The 30-year-old has ruled out any potential return to the ring and confessed that he has entered a new phase of his life and is perfectly content.

Groves took to social media today to address DeGale’s retirement announcement and showed respect for his former rival despite his damning comments this week.

“I’ve given him a lot of stick the past week after his loss at the weekend but upon his decision to retire today I want to wish James DeGale well in the next chapter of his life. You’ve made the right decision. It’s a tough sport and you reached the highest level. Congratulations.”

Groves met DeGale only once in the ring on May 21, 2011 for the Commonwealth and British super-middleweight titles. ‘Saint George’ was declared the winner by majority decision after 12 closely fought rounds and then went on to become world champion in 2016, when he stopped Russian Fedor Chudinov in a dominant sixth round TKO victory.

Arguably DeGale’s finest win came in May 2015 when he won the IBF world title against American favourite Andre Dirrell.

He floored Dirrell twice in the second round before claiming a points decision victory to claim the first world title of his career.

Andre Dirrell v James DeGale

He lost his IBF strap to American Caleb Traux in December 2017 but won the belt back in a rematch a few months later.

DeGale fought twice more after becoming a two-time world champion but his final outing resulted in a career-ending defeat to Eubank Jr.

His career has certainly had its ups and downs and ideally he would have liked to hang up his gloves with a victory, but he will still go down in the history books as one the finest super-middleweights this country has produced.

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