DeGale opponent ‘better than Groves’

James DeGale’s next opponent is a better fighter than George Groves, according to Frank Warren.

DeGale, who lost on points to Groves in May, will return to the ring in September to challenge Poland’s Piotr Wilczewski for the European super-middleweight title. The date and venue are expected to be confirmed on Monday.

Shepherd’s Bush prospect Groves, 23, is unbeaten as a professional, beat DeGale as an amateur, and added the British crown to his Commonwealth title when he again upset his bitter rival from Harlesden.

But Warren, DeGale’s promoter, insisted: “James is now fighting a guy who’s a better fighter than George Groves – make no mistake about it.

“The Groves fight is gone and these things happen. You’ve got to move on. I’ve now put James into a fight that will really focus his mind.

“It’s a fight he has to win, and win in emphatic style and not leave in the hands of the judges again. This will be a fast track for him to push for a world title.”

Wilczewski, 32, is ranked two in the world by the WBO and has failed to win only one of his 30 fights, although that loss was a third-round knockout at the hands of American Curtis Stevens.

DeGale’s trainer Jim McDonnell agrees that Wilczewski is a dangerous opponent for the Olympic champion, who cannot afford another defeat having surrendered his unbeaten record against Groves.

McDonnell said: “He (Wilczewski) is technically very good. I can see why he’s got a good record. He does nothing exceptionally well, but everything he does is very good.

“He’s a good boxer, doesn’t just go in straight lines like a lot of European fighters, and is also willing to stand and trade.

“James is going to have to be on top form to beat him. In fact, he’s going to have to produce the best performance of his career, and I think he will do.”