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DeGale sparring with Barker to get ready for Wilczewski bout

Darren Barker James DeGaleBy Scott Gilfoid: Former British super middleweight champion James DeGale (10-1, 8 KO’s) has been sparring with middleweight Darren Barker to get ready for DeGale’s October 15th fight against EBU super middleweight champion Piotr Wilczewski (29-1, 10 KO’s) at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. I think Barker will get more from the sparring to help him against Sergio Martinez, the WBC Diamond champion, in their fight next week than DeGale getting anything from it.

This is crucial fight for the talented 25-year-year-old DeGale, because he lost his last fight to George Groves last May by a controversial 12 round majority decision. DeGale was taken by surprise by the negative way Groves fought with his running and avoidance of mixing it up, but DeGale can’t be taken by surprise a second. He’ll need to make adjustments on the fly if he wants to get to the next level, fight for a world title or even get a rematch with Groves.

A loss for DeGale here will be a huge setback for him, and will likely slow down the pace for his career by at least a year or more. If DeGale can’t beat a limited fighter like Wilczewski, then it will reflect badly on DeGale, because this is someone that better fighters are expected to beat. Consider Wilczewski a kind of gatekeeper and DeGale has to get passed him to get to the bigger fights that he wants.

DeGale said to “There couldn’t be a better opportunity for me to bounce back by winning the European title fight, and that in turn could put me on course to win a world title next year…He’s tough, he’s durable and he can box when he wants to and he won’t come to Liverpool and let go of his titles easily.”

No he won’t. Wilczewski will be fighting tooth and nail to keep his European Boxing Union title, which is why DeGale is going to have to ramp up his offense into overdrive to really come after him, because we could see Wilczewski choosing to run just as Groves did to try and steal a win rather than earn it.

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