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James DeGale Reveals Touching Tribute To Late Irish Boxer Darren Sutherland

By Gavan Casey
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London's James DeGale faces American Andre Dirrell on May 23rd in a bid to become Britain's first ever Olympic gold medallist to win a legitimate world title in the professional ranks. But in an exclusive interview with Chris McKenna of StarSport, 'Chunky' revealed that a first world title would mean more to him than achieving a long-standing personal goal.

DeGale told McKenna that he has worn a tribute to the late Darren Sutherland on his trunks during each of his fights since 'Dazzler's' untimely death in 2009. DeGale fought the Irish Olympic bronze winner six times as an amateur, with Dublin-born Sutherland emerging victorious on four occasions, but losing out to DeGale in the Olympic semi-finals in Beijing.

Sutherland was tragically found hanged in his apartment a year after the Olympics, having suffered from depression following his move to London, away from family and friends. Dazzler had notched four impressive professional victories, and was described by promoter Frank - now Kellie - Maloney as his most promising prospect since Lennox Lewis.


Speaking to the Star, DeGale said,

It was so sad to hear about it. To put his initials on my shorts was just a bit of respect for him and his family who must have found it so hard. 

McKenna's brilliant article contains a picture of DeGale with every pair of trunks he's worn to the ring since Sutherland's death, each displaying the initials 'DS' or a varying homage to his former adversary.

It's a suitably fitting tribute, and one that has slipped the collective radar of the boxing masses for almost six years.


On former foe and friend Sutherland, DeGale continued:


We were rivals as amateurs but we had a lot of respect for each other. When I'm going to be world champion, he is going to be world champion.

We are going to lift this together. Maybe it is just his initials on my shorts but we will do it together.

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