Ring retirement tempted DeGale

EUROPEAN super-middleweight champion James DeGale has revealed that he came close to quitting as a boxer after a difficult 12 months spent largely out of the ring.

The 2008 Olympic gold medallist has punctuated Saturday’s fight against Hadillah Mohoumadi at Glow in Bluewater, Kent with a solitary defence of his 168lbs title since winning it on 15 October last year and acknowledges that there were consequently times when he became so low that he considered ending his pursuit of a dream that he had previously been impressively progressing towards.

“Pretty close [to quitting],” said DeGale, who is now being promoted by Mick Hennessy and will appear on Channel 5 after an acrimonious split from Frank Warren. “I’m a normal 26-year-old boy so I like going out and socialising, so it was hard, but I’m so glad everything’s finished. These are exciting times and I’m looking forward to it.

“For a boxer, for where I am in my career, to only have one fight in a year is crazy. That’s all I’ve done since the age of 10, so to be so inactive drove me mad. I can see how people can go off the rails and go on the drink and go on the stuff, or whatever, it just drives you mad.

“To go in the gym every day, and not have a goal or know when you’re going to box – especially with all the s*** I’ve had – I’m so glad that everything’s done, finished, and so I can move on with my career, [and] me being so inactive.

“There’s a lot of pressure. I’m on Channel 5, there’s a lot of haters out there. Listen, I’m destined to go all the way and destined to get that world title, so it’s exciting. By this time next year, I’m definitely going to be a world champion.”