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VIDEO: Vibe trains with James DeGale as he prepares for Bluewater showdown
HAVING run from the tube station in north London and up two flights of stairs, my lungs were exploding when I burst through the gym doors 10 minutes late.
It was empty.
Olympic gold medallist James DeGale will fight Dyah Davis at Bluewater’s Glow on November 16 and has an eye on the victor of the upcoming Froch-Groves contest.
I was due to meet him at the gym to discuss it all, but appear to have missed him.
Thankfully Team DeGale’s timekeeping is worse than mine and they strolled through the doors minutes later.
To some, the term Team DeGale could imply a full entourage of burly blokes and hangers on.
In reality, it consisted a grinning James DeGale wearing flip flops, lugging a hold-all, and his trainer Jim McDonnell, who once KO’d Barry McGuigan.
It was refreshingly low-fi - just a couple of friendly guys going about their business.
The gym is well equipped and comfortable - with that great deep heat aroma - but it is not a wonderland of high tech machinery.
As he strapped on his boots, James told me his is looking forward to getting back in the ring.
He said: “I can’t wait. I haven’t boxed since June so I’m raring to go.
“I’m feeling good and in three weeks time I’ll be in good shape.
“The way I’m feeling, I’m keen to go in there and get him out of the way within the 12 rounds.”
Preparation for the fight takes plenty of focus.
He said: “It is normally eight weeks non-stop in the gym. I train twice a day, normally I have Saturday off, Sunday off.
“It is a lot of long distance running at the beginning, a lot of running on the track, a lot of sparring and a lot of gym sessions on the pads and bags.
“It’s hard work, a lot of sacrifice and a lot of dedication for eight weeks.”
Watching James and Jim work out, that hard work is clear. A repetitive routine of footwork and bag work is relentless and long after most of us would have collapsed in a sweaty heap, a dripping James is hitting the bag harder than ever.
If he lands one of those shots on Davis on November 16, the Yank’s head may fly off his shoulders.
In terms of diet, James espouses a simple routine which boils down to three good meals a day.
He said: “I take all my nutritionist shakes and recovery shakes, my vitamins.
“I don’t snack. If I do, I eat fruit but I have three good meals a day: porridge in the morning, a couple of pieces of brown toast with scrambled egg and at dinner a piece of grilled chicken with veg.”
James still feels nerves, he said, but he takes it in his stride having boxed since he was 10 and experienced Olympic success.
The only blip in James’ career is a controversial points loss to George Groves, which he is keen to avenge.
“He knows he was lucky the first time around,” he said. “I don’t think he wants it.”
That said, James believes Carl Froch will have too much for Groves when the pair meet on November 23, and has an eye on the man from Nottingham.
“I would like that,” he said. “But I’m not too sure they would take a voluntary defence against me. It’s a risky fight for them.”
As much as James lives for the next fight, he also relishes the chance to get a couple of weeks off post-fight.
He said: “I’m a normal 27-year-old boy. I like going out, going to the cinema, just socialising, being normal, having a drink and going to a club.
“Obviously you can’t do that for eight to 10 weeks.”
James DeGale fights Dyah Davis on November 16 at Glow, Bluewater. Tickets are priced from £40 and are available from Hennessy Sports box office on 01925 755 222 or at hennessy.ticketline.co.uk, from Ticketline on 0844 888 4402 or ticketline.co.uk, or from Ticketmaster on 0844 847 2500 or ticketmaster.co.uk
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