DeGale v Eubank Jr: Britons trade insults as Eubank Sr admits he is 'petrified'

DeGale v Eubank Jr
Date: 23 February Venue: O2 Arena, London Coverage: Live-text commentary on BBC Sport website

Chris Eubank Jr says facing James DeGale represents a "do or die" moment in his career, with his father admitting he is "petrified" of defeat.

Eubank Jr, 29, competes at London's O2 Arena on Saturday and DeGale has said retirement looms for whoever loses.

"We are both on the edge and at a stage where we can't lose," said Eubank Jr.

His father said: "Physically, Junior has the upper hand and from a spiritual and pedigree aspect, James does. I am not convinced Junior will win."

Chris Eubank Sr has stated in the past his son could emulate the undefeated American great Floyd Mayweather but defeat by George Groves a year ago has raised questions over whether Eubank Jr can win at the sport's highest level.

"From a physical point of view, I don't think anyone can stand with my son but it's also spiritual," added Eubank Sr, a former two-weight world champion. "This is where Jr lacks that blessing.

"It's the only thing that allowed me to win championship fights. Spiritually, I am buoyant. I don't know whether he has that. This is most certainly a 50-50 fight and for the first time I am petrified of what the outcome could be.

"We have a lot of skin in this game."

Insults and a retirement fight

DeGale (left) has lost just once, while Eubank Jr has two losses in his career
DeGale (left) has lost just once, while Eubank Jr has two losses in his career

At a lively final news conference, the fighters traded insults, with DeGale telling his rival he was "pathetic" and a "deluded moron" for believing he could compete with the Olympic gold medallist and former world super-middleweight champion.

Addressing his opponent, DeGale, 33, said: "It's all dawned on him - he's finished. I promise you will get a schooling.

"I'm proven, you idiot. I have won everything. You have done nothing."

DeGale gave up the world super-middleweight title he won back from Caleb Truax in April and has lost twice in 28 outings.

Eubank Jr - who has two defeats in 29 fights - recently tweeted DeGale imploring him not to "cheat" fans and "run around the ring all night".

DeGale said: "In other words that's saying 'James don't use your boxing ability and out box me. Let's stand there make it hard and give me a chance'.

"Do you know what, I am going to come out and give it to you properly. You can't box, Chris.

"This is the biggest fight of his career, retirement time. Whoever loses this is done."

'I will stop him'

Eubank Jr has consistently played down the idea of retiring should he be beaten but admitted a third loss of his career - added to defeats by Billy Joe Saunders and Groves - would be hugely damaging.

DeGale has faced accusations his best years are behind him but insists he has overcome persistent injuries to reach his best condition "for a long, long time".

Eubank Jr, meanwhile, claims he will benefit from teaming up with trainer Nate Vasquez, who he met at Mayweather's Las Vegas gym.

In the past, the Brighton fighter was guided by his father and the man who trained Eubank Sr, Ronnie Davies.

"For the first time in my career we are focusing on strategy and game plan in a tailored boxing camp, preparing me for a slick southpaw," said Eubank Jr.

"We have covered all bases, that is why I am so confident. If he runs we have a game plan, if he stands and plants his feet, we have a plan.

"This is my opportunity to prove once and for all, to set the records straight, to prove to the doubters and haters that I am the real deal.

"I am at a stage where I know he can't handle me. I am going to go there and stop him."