Fighter Diary by James DeGale
James DeGale insists he is now back in full working order after surgery and ready to make a big statement on his London return against Caleb Truax at the Copper Box on Saturday
IT HAS BEEN great to finally get myself ready for a fight on home territory but, you know what, I actually didn’t mind going away a few weeks before my fights because you can cut yourself off and are away from everything. No hassle or bother from anyone is nice, but I am still over the moon to be back at home now.
Training has gone well and it actually feels a bit weird having taper down week at home. It has put me at ease and it is a little bit more relaxing – sparring is easier to sort and weight is easier to make.
I am looking forward to showing everyone what I am all about again now I am injury-free. My shoulder, which was troubling me before and during the Badou Jack unification fight is now in full working order, but I was still prepared to put surgery on hold and fight Callum Smith in July.
It didn’t happen and it would have been a risk going in against Smith, but I was going to take it. I was thinking about getting another defence in and probably believing I was that good I could get away with it again.
I am now so glad the shoulder is fixed and I sound like a parrot because I constantly say it, but I am injury-free now.
It all starts again for me on Saturday with a fantastic performance. You will see me jabbing, double jabbing, hooking off my jab. You will see me with a nice tight defence, whereas before the shoulder was affecting everything.
With my defence I couldn’t hold my hand up because of the pain and I couldn’t hook off my jab as a right-handed southpaw. My breathing was also affected and I have also had a nose operation.
I now feel so much better and you lot are going to see the difference. I don’t think this fight against Caleb Truax is going the distance and you will see how much I have improved.
I have also embraced the sports science side of preparations and have been educated a bit over the last year and a half on nutrition, conditioning and strength. Instead of pounding the roads constantly I know there are different ways of getting fit and making yourself stronger.
Sometimes less is more and I have realised that. My trainer Jim McDonnell is a fantastic coach, one of the best, but he is very old school and stuck in his ways a little bit.
What I have done is just adjust training a little bit. I believe in all the interval work and sports science side, but I also believe in the hard graft as well and the running.
It is a case of mixing the two together for me.
Whoever you fight in a voluntary defence of a world title these days you seem to get stick, but my opponent on Saturday, Caleb Truax, has been in with Jermain Taylor, Danny Jacobs and got caught cold by Anthony Dirrell. He has mixed with decent opponents, but every time he has stepped up to the highest level, he has been beaten.
Maybe for my first fight back he is the perfect opponent. There will always be criticism, but I have got to think about myself. By the time I box it will be nearly a year since my last fight, Truax is in the top 15 and I am looking forward to it.
It is not just about winning, I need to look good and need a standout dominant performance.
My last one was against Jack – who is an elite fighter now – and it shows you how good I am to literally fight with one arm against him.
I still got through it and if I didn’t get knocked down in the last round I was the winner.
Assuming all goes well, my ideal for next year would be the WBC world champion David Benavidez in the early part, which should be easy to make, then the winner or the Super Series or WBO champion Gilberto Ramirez.
I don’t want to hang about and in the next couple of years I want a lot of fights, to earn a lot of money, win all my titles and achieve a bit more, before happily retiring.
Before, when I was injured, I thought when I had enough money not to work again, I’d be gone. Now, the way I’m feeling in body and soul, is great and boxing is all I know as I’ve done it since the age of ten.