DeGale boxes Guerrero in December, EBU mandatory against Sanavia due for February

17 Nov

Tommy Barber – London

The Frank Warren Sports Network card that had initially been set to take place in London has been moved to the Echo Arena in Liverpool on Friday, December 9. Three Londoners are set to share main event status as burgeoning middleweight Billy Joe Saunders, together with super middleweight rivals George Groves and James DeGale are all due to box. The latter of whom, has already received an opponent – Jose Maria Guerrero, of Spain.

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Chunky in stay-busy fight. Credit Domfranks85

There had been speculation that DeGale – a 2008 gold medal Olympian in Beijing – would oblige the mandatory challenger for his EBU title; Cristian Sanavia, however, this match-up has now been mooted for a February date. Consequently, DeGale’s dust-up with Guerrero will not have the blue European belt on the line.

DeGale (11-1-0, 8ko) won the EBU championship in his most recent outing, against durable Polish pugilist Piotr Wilczewski, in October. The scoring was tight and a reflection of the competitive spirit that the bout contained, yet it was the Londoner who prevailed by way of majority decision.

Guerrero (29-2-1, 11ko) does not possess the same credentials that strong Continental opponent Wilczewski provided. He has twice been defeated, once by Mario Veit in 2003 and again in 2005, when he was stopped inside three rounds by Mamuka Khutuashvili.

A four year break from the sport occurred between 2005 and ’09 but, since returning to boxing, he has amassed a winning streak of four fights, however, the 34-year-old Spaniard has rarely boxed anyone with a winning record and, as such, will likely provide DeGale with a ‘tune-up’ for Sanavia, rather than the two sterling tests he undertook against Groves in May and Wilczewski, four months later.

British and Commonwealth super middleweight titlist Groves, an undefeated prizefighter in 14 contests (11 by way of knockout), also fights on the card but it is, as of yet, unclear over whom will provide his opposition and whether it will have the Englishman’s two domestic straps on the line. Groves is enjoying a breakout year having out-pointed DeGale and supplementing that high-profile victory with a stunning two-round knockout over the usually durable Liverpudlian; Paul Smith.

Billy Joe Saunders, who recently lifted the Southern Arena middleweight belt due to his trumping of Gary Boulden, will also compete on December 9, as will another undefeated rising middleweight prospect Joe Selkirk, 26-year-old featherweight Stephen Smith and welterweight novice Liam Smith.

Related article: Groves: DeGale should avoid me if wants career longevity

Related article: Groves silences Smith with second round stoppage

Related article: Stylish Saunders scores decision win over Boulden, claims Southern Area title

Related article: New EBU champ DeGale trumps Wilczewski after hairy moments

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