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DeGale hands Groves a deadline


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British super-middleweight champion James DeGale has warned George Groves that their fight must happen within the next 12 months.


DeGale and Groves have maintained a bitter rivalry ever since they learned the trade in the same gym, with Groves emerging victorious when the two met as amateurs.


They are currently two of the hottest prospects in the division - Groves holds the Commonwealth belt - but negotiations between the camps have yet to produce a bout.


While Groves looked less than convincing in his latest encounter, picking himself off the canvas to defeat Kenny Anderson, DeGale clinched the British title by dominating respected veteran Paul Smith.


Now DeGale has told his rival that he will not wait around for anyone as he prepares to turn his attentions toward securing a world title shot. "If it doesn't happen this year then I don't think it will get done because he will be found out when he steps up, or sooner," DeGale told boxingscene.


"I've been calling it, I want to make this fight but there's always problems getting them to agree on things. I don't need George Groves - he needs me."



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Nowhere for DeGale to go - Groves

ESPN staff


George Groves has claimed his management team have laid the foundations for him to get it on the ring with bitter rival James DeGale.


DeGale and Groves are two of the hottest prospects in British boxing and have had an intense rivalry since the latter claimed a win in their amateur days. They have both talked positively about meeting in the ring, but their careers have not yet collided.


Groves will return to the ring on February 12th in a support fight on the John Watson versus Anthony Crolla British lightweight title card - ahead of a potential meeting with DeGale.


Groves feels the fight will hand him a chance to demonstrate the changes he has made in the training and will strengthen his hand as mandatory challenger to British champion DeGale.


"Im pleased to be back in action," Groves said. "Once I won the Commonwealth title and moved up to the 12-round distance it was a concern that I might not be able to be as active as I would like. This is a fight to show and practice the adjustments we have been making in the gym.


"I'm chuffed to be back in Liverpool boxing. Last time I was there fighting I put on a great display stopping Paul Samuels in one round in my third fight, I hope for more of the same.


"The people up there are really friendly and big boxing fans. They love their boxing and come out and support their fighters in their droves, I hope to pick up a few more North-West fans after Saturday."


With Groves the mandatory challenger to face DeGale, the fight that many want to see is close to being finalised - with it set to go to purse bids on February 9 - and Groves has suggested there is nowhere else for DeGale to go.


"We made me mandatory for the British title fully knowing DeGale would probably pick up the British title and therefore have to fight me if he wants to keep that title," Groves said. "We laid the tracks.


"If one of us backs out of this fight now it's going to look ridiculous and all the hype and all the verbal that's gone on beforehand will be for nothing."


Tickets for the Matchroom bill at the Olympia in Liverpool are priced at £30, and are available by calling 07593 751 302.

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