James DeGale will defend his IBF Super Middleweight title against former champion Lucian Bute at the Videotron Center in Quebec on November 28, live on Sky Sports in the UK and on SHOWTIME in the US and Canada. DeGale is determined to become the universally recognized best 168lbs fighter in the world. To do so he must get past the likes of Bute, a task which DeGale admits will be a supreme test in Canada, but one he also relishes.
“Bute is a World class, elite-level fighter who kept his World title for five years,” said DeGale. “Anyone who can do that deserves some serious respect. I’m the champion and he will be very fired up trying to win back his old title, but I’m too young, too fast, too skilful to let that happen.
“My trainer Jim McDonnell has always said getting the World title is hard, but keeping it is even harder. I’m under no illusions about this fight, but I’m also a massive believer in my own ability and I aim to show just who is the best Super Middleweight in the world on November 28.”
In May, DeGale became the first Briton to add a professional title to his Olympic gold medal, beating Andre Dirrell in Boston to capture the IBF crown. Now, for the first defense of his title, the 29 year old travels again to the other side of the Atlantic.
DeGale, 21(14)-1, said: “I consider it a massive privilege to be a World champion, fighting for Great Britain. I went on the road to win my title and my first defense is on away soil as well, but I’m very comfortable with fighting abroad. It is another challenge for me to overcome and in the future I can’t wait to defend my title in the United Kingdom.
“I’m lucky enough to have boxed in Canada only a few years ago when I took on Sebastien Demers in Quebec in 2013. I met some great people out there, it is a lovely country and I can’t wait to get back. I beat Demers in a couple of rounds and I’d take the same result again.
“Whatever happens, however I win, I’m coming back with my belt.”
Romanian-born Canadian Bute has other ideas and is gunning to win back his IBF belt in front of his own raucous supporters. Bute landed the crown in Montreal in 2007 at the Bell Center and held the crown over five years and nine successful defences before Carl Froch took the title from him in Nottingham in May 2012.
“’I am really happy to have this opportunity at this point of my career,” said Bute. “I lost my title in England against an English fighter and now, I will box in Quebec against another English boxer, for the same title I defended for five years. I am really motivated by this opportunity the regain the title I lost in 2012.
“The fact that the fight will take place in front of my fans in Quebec City, where I never lost, will be the factor that will make the difference. I give all my respect to the champion James DeGale for accepting to travel for his first defence, but the IBF belt will stay in Quebec November 28.”