oday marks ten years since my professional debut fight on 28th February 2009 and today is the day I am announcing my retirement from boxing.
It’s been an unbelievable journey and I’ve had an amazing decade – if I’m honest, the best years of my life – and having started boxing at the age of nine then being selected as part of the England Amateurs squad, I’ve collected many memories along the way.
It hard to admit that I’m not the fighter I once was, but I’m human and along the way, my injuries have taken a toll – both on mind and body and these things have contributed to impact my performance in the ring.
I lost the fight on Saturday at The O2 but I’m touched to have a good send off from the fans in my home city.
The day after the fight, someone said to me that one fight does not determine a legacy. Looking back, if someone had told me at the start of my boxing career, when I was in the England squad, that I would become an Olympic Gold Medallist, British and European Champion and Two-Time World Champion, I would never have believed them, but I did it and I’d like to think I did it the clean, honest and hard way with discipline and respect to the sport I love.
I’m proud to say that I’ve made history as the first ever British Olympian boxer to turn professional and to win a World Title and I am also proud to have been a road warrior – to travel wherever I needed to be to fight and to win. There’s nothing left to prove.
A majority of the greats go out on loss and for me, it’s time to hang up the gloves and to move on with my head held high.
Before I close off, let me mention a few people who have been with me through the highs and the lows:
Firstly, thank you to all of my fans and supporters – it’s been great to meet some of you along the way – thank you for your support – it’s carried me to the top!
To the media … there’s too many of you to thank personally but thanks for the coverage and for the jokes along the way. A special mention to Richard Maynard, you are a true gentleman and a pleasure to work with.
The major U.K TV networks that my fights have been televised on: Sky Sports, BT Sport, Channel 5, BBC and I’m happy that I ended on ITV. Showtime in the U.S who have a fantastic team that have featured me plenty of times.
Special thanks to:
My family and friends who have cheered me along from the start. Your loyalty and encouragement is second to none. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
To my trainer Jimsky – we did it Jim and we saw it through together – thank you for all your love, time, patience and advice. To you and all the McDonnell family – this is not goodbye – we will be friends & family for life.
Nick Palma – you came onboard more recently and I value the support you’ve given me during our sessions together – thank you.
Paulie Malignaggi – thank you for coming on board and for sharing your wealth of knowledge and experience of the sport. I always appreciate your direct honesty and support and consider you a friend for life.
Steve Newland – thank you for picking me up, brushing me and down and starting all over again and for believing in me – I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for you.
Joseph John – my sidekick and my true friend who tells me what I need to hear rather than what I want to hear – I appreciate your friendship. Thank you.
My eternal love and gratitude goes to my Mum and Dad for being there through thick and thin from the very beginning – I couldn’t have done this without you!
To my siblings – my Sister Eloise (Smells) for being at my beck and call 24/7 – thank you! My two brothers Alex and Lewis and my cousins Jacob and Rian who stood in the background and willed me on and wanted me to succeed no matter what – thank you!
Last but not least THE MAN, THE MYTH, THE LEGEND, the family man – Alan Haymon for supporting and guiding me through the last chapter of my career! You put the boxers first! I will never forget you.
Thank you to each and everyone one of you for the part you have played in my career and in making me THE ROAD WARRIOR, THE HISTORY MAN!
Thank you for the memories – over and out.
James ‘CHUNKY’ DeGale MBE
28th February 2019