DeGale and Groves make it winner-takes-all

Thu, 19 May 16:33:00 2011

Bitter rivals James DeGale and George Groves have come to an extraordinary agreement to make their fight this weekend a winner-takes-all battle.

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The pair will fight for the British and Commonwealth super middleweight belts on Saturday at the O2 Arena in London, and only the victor will get paid after the pre-fight press conference turned nasty.

DeGale made the offer to Groves to turn the fight into a winner-takes-all bout, yelling: "I am so confident that if I lose I will cover your wage. Let's make a bet now. Shake now."

Groves accepted the challenge - perhaps the first time that he and DeGale have agreed on anything for many years.

The pair were friends and stable-mates in their amateur careers, but in recent times have had an increasingly acrimonious relationship.

A few weeks ago tempers flared at another press conference, where DeGale explained the rivalry.

"This is personal," said DeGale. "If I'm brutally honest, George and me do not like each other. He's lived in my shadow for half his life.

"He's always been the ugly kid behind James DeGale. He's going to be bitter and jealous and we have to sort it out in the ring."

Groves was happy to hit back.

"Everyone wants to smash DeGale's face in. He's the most arrogant, egotistical fighter out there," he said.

"Our rivalry comes from the fact James DeGale was Olympic champion but number two in his own gym. When we fought there was a lot of hype about him, but look on YouTube, I beat him. It's there for everyone to see."

And there was more of the same on Thursday as DeGale again verbally attacked Groves.

"George, your chin is horrendous," DeGale continued at the press conference after shaking hands with his rival. "You are chinny. You get knocked out in sparring, you got knocked out as an amateur and will get knocked out as a professional. Once I land with those 10oz gloves, you will be asleep."

Both fighters will enter Saturday's fight undefeated as professionals, though DeGale is the bookies' favourite after impressive recent displays against Carl Dilks and Paul Smith.


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