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James DeGale to deliver a double blow on George Groves


James Degale

James Degale

James Degale

James DeGale has put his money where his mouth is by agreeing a lucrative side bet with bitter rival George Groves ahead of their clash tomorrow.

The unbeaten former amateur stablemates meet at the 02 Arena in London with DeGale's British super-middleweight title and Groves' Commonwealth belt on the line.

Their meeting is proving a box office draw despite them having only 22 professional fights between them, aided by a genuine dislike for each other and DeGale's oratory skills.

But the Harlesden fighter (10-0, 8KOs) insisted yesterday the time for talking is over and at a press conference offered to match Groves' earnings for the fight in a side bet.

Groves agreed to the double-or-nothing gamble and the pair shook hands.

DeGale said: “I'm so confident, I will cover your wage.

“You have the chance to double your money. The drinks are on me on Saturday! I don't want him to get a pay-day, so when I win, I'll get his purse.”

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Groves responded: “I've doubled my wages now!”

Meanwhile, newly-crowned WBO light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly lit the touchpaper for tomorrow's grudge match with domestic rival Tony Bellew in an explosive press conference which saw the pair nearly come to blows.

Cleverly will face Liverpudlian Bellew after Juergen Braehmer, who he had been set to challenge for the WBO belt, pulled out of the O2 Arena bout and was stripped of his title.

Cleverly was subsequently upgraded from ‘interim' champion, and for his first defence promoter Frank Warren gave a chance to unbeaten Commonwealth champion Bellew.

The two are long-time rivals and sparks flew when they came face-to-face. Bellew started insulting the Welshman as the banter turned nasty.

“I'll give you a free punch,” Cleverly taunted.

Hot-tempered Bellew reacted, threatening to put the Welshman “in an ambulance”, spitting expletives and repeatedly calling Cleverly “a f****** rat” when the champion offered to take the matter outside.

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