IBF super middleweight champion, James DeGale recently defended his belt in a closer than expected encounter against Rogelio Medina. DeGale won the fight by unanimous decision, but it was a competitive match. With the win, he set up a unification fight with WBC champion Badou Jack.
In part 1 of my “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview with James DeGale, I get his thoughts on his fight with Rogelio Medina and if he thinks he underestimated him. DeGale also talks about Badou Jack’s fight with Lucian Bute and the comparisons between Jack’s performance and his own. Additionally, DeGale discusses a fight with Badou Jack and the judging if the fight is in the UK. Here is what James DeGale had to say.
Jenna J: James, the last time we saw you in the ring you were taking on Rogelio Medina and you had a bit of a tougher than expected fight, can you talk about your performance?
James DeGale: Yeah, I think in bits and stages of the fight I looked good. Some of the shots, some of the angles were spot on, but I wasn’t fully happy with the performance. I’m being honest, I thought I was going to take ‘Porky’ Medina out, but he showed a lot of grit, fitness, toughness, and ceased through the twelve rounds. I’m disappointed that I didn’t stop him, but you got to give him credit for it.
Jenna J: This particular fight was your third straight fight on the road. How do you feel about going into a foreign territory?
James DeGale: I actually like it, I actually enjoy coming to America. I enjoy training and obviously I love boxing in America. I’ve always said that if you want to make a massive name, if you want to a be a big name in boxing, I think you have to cross over to America and have the big fights over there.
Jenna J: You said that you really hoped that you could take out Rogelio Medina but obviously it went to distance. Do you think that maybe you underestimated him?
James DeGale: Maybe. I’ve never under trained, nothing like that, but maybe I was looking past him. Maybe I was looking forward to the unification fight, so that is a possibility. But listen, Medina is tough and durable.
It’s funny because I’ve watched ‘Porky’ Medina through his career and he’s been stopped three or four times and going into the fight with me, he just showed a different level of fitness. He threw over a one thousand punches in twelve rounds and he got hit with a lot of clean shots, and you would think that would slow down your opponent, but he didn’t. He showed a lot of grit, a lot of toughness, and a lot of fitness, which surprised me
Jenna J: In the particular performance, do you see anything that you can improve on?
James DeGale: Yeah listen, I’m learning every single day in the gym. You never stop learning, there is all different kinds of things, my defense — sometimes I rely on my reflexes too much when I dip from my legs and my angles, so I got to work on my defense. There are a couple of things that we’re working on in the gym, but one of them is definitely defense.
Jenna J: What did you think of the performance of Badou Jack, who was in the main event of the card?
James DeGale: I thought it was a good and competitive fight. I thought Badou Jack did extremely well, both did well. They showed good heart and it was a good competitive fight, but I had Badou Jack winning by two or three rounds. But it just depends on what you like but I thought Badou Jack won. It was a good competitive fight, but I think draw was a bit harsh.
Jenna J: Do you think Jack maybe let his foot off the gas a little bit in the later rounds and allowed that situation to even take place?
James DeGale: Yeah maybe, maybe because it felt like he was well ahead after eight or nine rounds and then Lucian Bute came on in the last couple of rounds, and in the last couple of rounds you could see from Badou Jack’s face that he was hurt and his work rate dragged a little bit. Lucian Bute came on in the later part, but I still think Badou Jack won.
Jenna J: You both fought Bute, but who do you think did better with him?
James DeGale: Well styles make fights. On the score cards it says I beat Bute by five rounds, in his back yard. Styles make fights, like I boxed Medina and he went twelve rounds with me, and Badou Jack stopped him sixe rounds, but saying that, I boxed Periban and I knocked him out in three rounds, where Badou Jack had life and death with Periban. Styles make fight, and I think me and Badou Jack styles are going to gel and I think it’s going to be a hell of a fight.
Jenna J: What do you think of the match up in terms of your style against each other?
James DeGale: I think the styles gel. I don’t have to get into a fight but I love that, I love that side of it. I love getting struck and having a bit of war where really I shouldn’t do that because I’m an out and out boxer and I can outbox people.
I think Badou Jack has come on as being a world champion. I think he’s grown as a champion, and I think he’s confident as world champion, and I think he is a good fighter. With Badou Jack, it’s like he doesn’t do one thing unbelievable, but he does everything good. He’s a solid fighter.
Jenna J: Now when I spoke to Jack he said he is willing to go over to the United Kingdom, he just wants fair judging. Do you think that can happen if he comes over to the UK?
James DeGale: Listen, he can choose the judges, it don’t matter to me. We’re at the top and everything should be fair. I’m not fussed about judging and whatever, if he’s happy to come over to England to box me, let’s do it. But I’m not too sure if that’s just all talk, I’m not too sure if he wants too. But I’m pretty easy, obviously I want my homecoming, I want to box in my home city, but if I have to go to America again, I will.