By Frank Warren
IT IS HARD to believe that it is pushing a year since James DeGale topped the bill at the Barclays Centre in his bid to unify the super middleweight world titles against Badou Jack.
It ended up a draw, so it was as you were, but for James the subsequent months developed into a frustrating period where he ended up under the knife having his shoulder repaired.
He insists the painful fix will have him back better than ever, so I am delighted he is making his UK return on our bumper show at the Copper Box on December 9.
It has been a long-awaited homecoming for the former Olympic champion, who will be making a fourth defence of his IBF world title against Caleb Truax.
I am sure the London fight fans are looking forward to seeing him perform back where he belongs.
He has flown the flag from Boston to New York – via Quebec City and Washington – with considerable distinction and notable success, but now he has the opportunity to do battle on the home front and showcase his talents on the BT Sport-BoxNation platform.
Bearing in mind his exploits, James deserves to be at the forefront in his own country and we are now delivering that for him.
Truax is a high quality operator and a good test for James after so long on the sidelines. The three reverses on his card have been against top notch opposition in Jermain Taylor in a split decision back in 2012, before being stopped in the 12th by Daniel Jacobs in 2015 and Anthony Dirrell last year.
The Minnesota man has 18 KOs from his 28 wins and he now has the opportunity at a second shot for a world title. As far as James is concerned, he will want to make a statement to the fans saying he is back firing on all cylinders.
Another who will be seeking to make a big impact is Lee Selby and viewers, I am sure, will be treated to some fascinating ringside analysis from a certain Josh Warrington, who will be watching on with interest from his BT Sport vantage point.
Lee makes a fifth defence of his IBF world featherweight title against the unbeaten Mexican Eduardo Ramirez.
Mexicans on a mission are always a dangerous prospect – as Carl Frampton will testify to from the other week in Belfast – and Ramirez comes into the contest off a split draw with the rated and also unbeaten Leduan Barthelemy in Las Vegas.
He now has the opportunity of fighting for a world title so there is no chance of him just going through the motions.
Lee is a top professional at the peak of his powers and he will want to look good in dealing with the threat posed by Ramirez.
He, like James and others on the bill, will want to look the part because 2018 is a big year for all these guys. We’ve got big shows and big fights planned so they will all want to put a marker down as being top of the pile, which obviously increases their earning potential.
For us as fans, next year is already shaping up to be a cracker with so much to look forward to and plenty of top fights very much in the pipeline.
First of all though, those performing at the Copper Box on December 9, need to see this year out with a bang.
TWO NEW WBO European champions were crowned at our 13th Annual Fight Night on behalf of the charity DEBRA on Monday evening.
The stylish Sunny, who also describes himself as ‘Showtime’, certainly put on a show against the also undefeated Ross Murray of Glasgow, stopping the Scot in the fourth round to collect the first belt of his fledgling professional career in just his sixth fight.
It was quite a statement to make and quite a timely one too when you consider the domestic rivalries that will soon be brewing among the flyweights, with the likes of Jay Harris, Joe Maphosa, Paddy Barnes and now Harvey Horn all making some noise.
There are some good fights to be made within that little group alone.
Lerrone marked his entry into double figures with an impressive display to overcome Rhys Pagan and the New Malden super middleweight is someone we probably need to step up quite rapidly now.
The 25-year-old is sometimes a bit of a chess player in the ring, always prepared to bide his time and wait for the smart moves. He possesses such huge ability and often finds it all a bit too easy, which is why we need to move him up in class and try and bring out a bit more of the devil in him.