Badou Jack: James DeGale Was Right in Retiring, Still in Contact With Adonis Stevenson’s Family

WHEN James DeGale announced his retirement the boxing world shed a sigh of relief – and so did his former opponent Badou Jack.

The 2008 Olympic gold medallist called an end to his glittering 10-year career after a crushing loss to bitter rival Chris Eubank Jr on February 23.

Speaking to SunSport, Jack, who drew against DeGale in a 2017 Fight of The Year, was left to agree it was the right time for his former rival “called it a day”.

Jack said: “I think it was the right time to call it a day.

“James had a great career, Olympic gold medallist, we went to the same Olympics but then he went and became world champion.

“I think it was his time, he’s still a young man, he’s made his money and it’s not good to stay too long and lose to people you’re not supposed to lose to.

“He fought overseas and he’s a very tough guy – he should be proud of himself.”

In Janurary 2017 DeGale travelled over to New York and put up his IBF super-middleweight title in a unification bout against WBC champ Jack.

It was a war that saw The Ripper floored in the first round and DeGale down in the last – with the bout resulting in a majority-draw.

In truth, “Chunky” has never looked the same since, losing to the unherald Caleb Truax in his return before avenging that loss and finally calling it a day after his defeat to Eubank.

And Jack, who beat Nathan Cleverly for the WBA light-heavyweight title in his fight after DeGale, maintains he came out the better after the 12 round war in New York.

He said: “It was a very tough fight, I feel I came out the better of it.

“If you look at our last two fights after, I fought Cleverly and when he fought Truax you can see who took the biggest beating – but it was a war.

“Hats off to him, always tried fighting till the end and maybe that fight just took too much out of him, but he’s still a warrior.

One year after Jack’s battle with DeGale, The Money Team fighter again saw himself fight to a draw after challenging for Adonis Stevenson’s WBC light-heavyweight title.

Though a rematch looked all but definite, in Stevenson’s next bout, the Canadian would be knocked out by Oleksandr Gvozdyk and left in “critical condition”.

“If you look at our last two fights after, I fought Cleverly and when he fought Truax you can see who took the biggest beating – but it was a war.

“Hats off to him, always tried fighting till the end and maybe that fight just took too much out of him, but he’s still a warrior.

One year after Jack’s battle with DeGale, The Money Team fighter again saw himself fight to a draw after challenging for Adonis Stevenson’s WBC light-heavyweight title.

Though a rematch looked all but definite, in Stevenson’s next bout, the Canadian would be knocked out by Oleksandr Gvozdyk and left in “critical condition”.

 

Jack remains in contact with Stevenson’s family, revealing the 41-year-old is “feeling better”.

He said: “He also had a tough fight with me, but I’m glad he’s doing better.

“I’ve been talking to his family during this whole time and they’ve been keeping me posted – I’m very happy he’s feeling better.”

In January Jack suffered just his second career loss after being outpointed by Marcus Browne.

But the 35-year-old suffered a gruesome cut on his forehead that gushed out blood from the sixth round on onwards and required 25 stitches.

The two-time world champion revealed he is gearing up for a return to the ring for September once his injury recovers – and looks to bounce back from his loss to “boring” Browne.

Jack added: “(Forehead cut) is healing pretty well, I’m hoping to be back in the ring by September – I’ve already started training a bit, I’m hungry to get back in there soon as my forehead is 100 per cent fine.

“Browne has a kind of boring style, holding when we were inside, but it was a smart gameplan – of course I want the rematch but if I can’t get it then we go onto the next one.”

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