JAMES DeGALE: I missed out on the World Super Series but I will still be in big fights… I can’t wait to be back!

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JAMES DeGALE: I missed out on the World Super Series but I will still be in big fights… I can’t wait to be back!

I’ve been working extremely hard in rehab to get my shoulder back to normal following my operation in June.

The surgeons initially thought it was just inflammation of the joint and that my ligaments needed tightening. But when I went under the knife they discovered it was much worse than they had anticipated.

I had a 180 degree tear around my shoulder, my AC joint needed stabilising and to top it all off I had a tear in my rotator cuff as well; it’s fair to say my shoulder was in trouble!

I’d been boxing with the injury since I won my world title against Andre Dirrell in 2015 and people keep asking why I swerved the operation for so long. Even though I couldn’t throw a hook in my last couple of fights, I didn’t know it was as serious as it was.

I had no control over it, it was stupid really but me being me, I didn’t want to waste all the hard work that gone into my training camps. But my surgeon said that if I’d kept boxing, it would just have popped out.

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DeGale recovering from his operation at home
(Image: Twitter/James DeGale)

Thinking back, it’s unbelievable that I was able to box at such a high level. Badou Jack keeps going on about holding me to a draw back in January – but I was a one-armed bandit in that fight! I don’t want to make excuses because I’m still the champion, but if we boxed again and I had two arms, I’d win comfortably. But he’s moved up to light-heavyweight and will fight Nathan Cleverly on Saturday so I want to put that behind me and focus on the future.

It’s been just over 10 weeks since the operation and it’s been a very frustrating process but I can see light at the end of the tunnel. I had my arm in a sling for the first three weeks so that limited me in terms of my rehabilitation but once that was off I was able to start strengthening my arm.

I was doing lots of different movements; I had lots of physio, and lots of massages. The first six weeks were very tedious but it all helped to build up the muscle again.

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DeGale fought through the pain barrier against Badou Jack
(Image: REUTERS)

I should be punching again by the end of this month and I’ll hopefully be sparring by the middle of October and I’m planning to defend my world title just before Christmas. The shoulder will never be 100 per cent again – that’s the same after any operation – but I’ll be back to fighting with no pain for the first time in a long time.

While I’ve been doing my rehab, the draw for the World Boxing Super Series was made. It’s a great concept and unlike the Super Six which Andre Ward won a few years ago, it’s not drawn out over two years. The fighters will box three times in nine months which, given the big names in the competition, should mean plenty of excitement for the fans. And of course, I’m looking forward to seeing who comes out on top and my plan is to fight the winner.

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Although I am frustrated not to be involved, that doesn’t mean there are not big fights out there for me. David Benavidez and Ronald Gavril will fight for the vacant WBC world title in two weeks’ time after Anthony Dirrell pulled out. I boxed – and beat – Gavril in the amateurs and I will hopefully fight the winner of that one – it would be incredible to finally hold two belts.

I still have an outstanding mandatory but Andre Dirrell and Jose Uzcategui have to fight again after their controversial first fight so there’s no immediate rush for that one.

That means I have time on my side to fight who I want to fight – and I can’t wait to get back in the ring!

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