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James DeGale: George Groves has always been chasing me

James DeGale still doesn't like George Groves.

Charlie Crowhurst

James DeGale and George Groves have quite a colorful past, including an amateur fight and a pro fight both won by Groves, and DeGale doesn't seem keen to let the past be the past. Speaking with the Daily Mail, DeGale bristled at Groves' claim that he'll be higher on the card next Saturday, and said that his rival has always been in his shadow.

‘We've had this conversation and I've asked Eddie Hearn "What the f*** is happening?"' said DeGale. "I go on Ringside, I'm a Matchroom fighter and this guy is sitting beside me telling me he is chief support? What the f***?

‘Basically we were going back and forth and the ugly kid was moaning but I don't care. All I care about is what I'm getting paid that night and getting the win.

‘He has never liked me because he has always been in my shadow. It started the day he came in the club. I'll tell you the truth, I was basically the main boy at the club - the golden boy really - I was there before him and then he was always chasing behind me.'

DeGale (19-1, 13 KO) will be facing Marco Antonio Periban (20-2-1, 13 KO) as he closes in on his first world title shot in 2015, while Groves (20-2, 15 KO) is taking on Denis Douglin (17-3, 10 KO).

There's really no doubt at the moment that DeGale has the tougher fight on paper, as Periban has proven capable at the world level, while Douglin has stumbled well short of the top tier.

But it's tough to see this as anything more than continued squabbling between DeGale and Groves, which started when they were kids and continues today. Whether fair or not, and whether either of them likes it or not, they're going to be connected for the rest of their careers.

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