The proposed rematch between British super-middleweight rivals James DeGale and George Groves looks set to be put on the back-burner, with the duo set for their own world title fights against a Dirrell brother. While Groves has put himself into a mandatory position for Anthony Dirrell’s WBC super-middleweight title, it now looks as though DeGale will face Andre Dirrell for the IBF title if current holder Carl Froch does vacate the belt.
Rather than both fighters going and challenging for world titles, though, Matchroom Sport chief Eddie Hearn has admitted he is desperate to put together DeGale vs. Groves II for the potentially vacant IBF title. The two super-middleweights have been rivals since their amateur days in a battle that started when Groves recorded a controversial victory over his former gym-mate.
The bitterness increased when the two unbeaten fighters met in the professional ranks back in 2011 for the British title, with Groves again coming away with the win in a fight that many felt should have gone the other way. But while a rematch between the two rivals would be a huge fight for British boxing fans, it looks as though DeGale and Groves will both first look to pick up world titles in the early part of 2015 before any potential mega-fight in the summer.
DeGale, who is ranked number one with the IBF, four with the WBO and nine with the WBA, has been trying to tempt Froch into a fight since the Nottingham-fighter destroyed Groves in May. But rather than defend his belts against another up-and-coming British boxer, Froch is rumoured to be willing to vacate his IBF strap in order to face Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in Las Vegas in early 2015. If Froch does move on, DeGale will most likely be ordered to face number two ranked Dirrell for the IBF title, in a fight that could split punters betting with the likes of BETFAIR.
The elder Dirrell brother put himself into the number two position with a comprehensive points victory over Derek Edwards in what was his sixth straight victory since his sole career-defeat against Carl Froch in 2009. That split-decision loss still leaves a sour taste in Dirrell’s mouth, however, and a fight in the UK against DeGale wouldn’t be an easy one to make, with the American reportedly far from happy about leaving the States for the fight. The presence of Dirrell’s advisor Al Haymon could even the playing field, though, and winning the purse bid would see DeGale forced to take the fight in the US.
Groves has had two world title shots in the past 14 months only to fall short on both occasions, and some may claim the Londoner is perhaps somewhat lucky to now be preparing for a mandatory shot at the WBC title. After his controversial stoppage defeat to Froch at the end of 2013, Groves was knocked out in spectacular fashion in the rematch six months later in front of 80,000 people at Wembley Stadium.
Groves rebounded from that pair of losses with an uninspiring points win over Christopher Rebrasse before coming back from some dangerous moments to stop Denis Douglin in the seventh round in November. The Englishman has now set his targets on Dirrell’s world title and is looking at a potential bout in the middle of 2015.
If both DeGale and Groves could pick up world titles early in 2015, British boxing could have another huge stadium fight on their hands next summer. With continued talk surrounding Kell Brook and Amir Khan, 2015 looks like it could be another massive year for British boxing and a great chance for Betfair fans to enjoy some big fights.