James DeGale has revealed the prospect of seeing Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title fight against Wladimir Klitschko does not “excite” him because of a preference to see him fight “real champ” Tyson Fury.
Their match-up at Wembley Stadium on 29 April, for Joshua’s IBF title and the WBA belt Fury recently vacated, is expected to attract a British post-war record fight crowd of around 90,000.
It features one of the finest heavyweight champions in history challenging another expected to prove himself the best of the coming era, but for all that DeGale considers Joshua the world’s leading active heavyweight, he cannot ignore the shadow Fury casts over their fight.
Fury vacated his WBA and WBO titles in October to deal with his “medical treatment and recovery” after struggling with mental health problems, but before then was widely considered the world’s leading heavyweight having in 2015 inflicted Klitschko’s first defeat for 11 years.
DeGale also believes that result will undermine the victory he expects Joshua to achieve in April.
“Everyone’s making a big deal out of the fight.
“It’s a good fight but Klitschko lost his last fight to Fury, the real champ is Fury,” said DeGale who, on 14 January in New York fights Badou Jack in an IBF and WBC super-middleweight unification title fight.
“It doesn’t really excite me. I want to see it but I’d rather Anthony Joshua box Fury, that’s all.
“Anthony Joshua’s the man, a beast, he’s the best heavyweight in the world now.
“I didn’t mean to put the fight down, just I’d rather see Joshua fight the real champ. Anthony Joshua is a beast, he’s a very good fighter, and is going to go on to be a superstar.”
Asked if Fury’s win over Klitschko would reduce the credit Joshua may receive in the event of victory, he responded: “I think it is watered down, I think it will be. [But] I expect Joshua to stop Klitschko, and look good in doing it.”
Victory on 14 January would establish DeGale beyond doubt as the world’s leading super-middleweight, and give the IBF champion another title from the WBC.
His rival George Groves recently confirmed he is to challenge WBA champion Fedor Chudinov, leaving them on course for a rematch later in 2017 in another significant British fight that would unify three of the 168lb world titles.
“Best of luck to him,” said DeGale, 30. “If he’s going to win a world title this is going to be his chance, against Chudinov.
“He’s had three world title shots, and he’s failed, been knocked out [twice]. We don’t get along but he’s a good fighter. Hopefully he can win this, for Britain, I can come through mine, and it’ll be a massive, massive fight next year.”