EXPLOSIVE: The north Londoner works a punch bag
RANKED INSIDE the top 10 of three of boxing’s four major governing bodies, super-middleweight James DeGale knows that 2013 is a crucial year in his career.
With a world title shot beckoning, the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games gold medallist faces Colombian Alexander Brand at the Glow Arena inside Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent on March 23, knowing that victory will put him in touching distance of his goal.
Recognising that a fight for world honours could be around the corner should he be successful, the 27-year-old DeGale told the Voice of Sport: “I’ll be an extra step closer. I want to keep on being busy this year, keep on progressing and keep on moving forward so this fight will bring me one step closer.
“He’s (Brand) a world-class fighter. He’s got a record of 19-1; his only loss is by split decision to another unbeaten fighter called Badou Jack. He’s got 15 knockouts on his record, boxed in America a couple of times so I think it’s the right fight at the right time.”
The biggest contest in the 12 stone division to be announced this year is undoubtedly the rematch between Nottingham’s Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler from Denmark on May 25 and DeGale reckons he will soon be ready to challenge the winner.
“Someone like Kessler or Froch, I’m 12 months away from. At the end of the year I want a big fight like that,” said the north Londoner nicknamed ‘Chunky’. “That’s a very a close fight but I’m edging towards Froch. If it’s as close as their last fight in Denmark, I think Froch will get it because of the home advantage. I’m looking forward to it, it should be a hell of a fight and we’re in for a treat.”
Away from world level, DeGale’s stablemate – a certain fledgling professional middleweight called Chris Eubank Jr, the son of the larger than life former two-weight world champion Chris Eubank Sr – has called out DeGale, alleging that he schooled him during a sparring session.
Although the switch-hitting southpaw recognised that a bout between the pair could happen down the road, DeGale feels that Eubank Jr has been running his mouth simply to garner attention.
“I watch all the things that are happening in boxing and it’s a publicity stunt on his part because he’s not even my weight, he’s not even won a domestic title yet and he’s calling my name.
“If he carries on winning and looking good, that fight could happen in the near future, definitely,” said DeGale, whose record reads an impressive 14 wins (nine K.Os) and one defeat.
“Him and his dad, they’re on a different planet so I’ll just let them do what they’ve got to do. But if he carries on winning it could happen. We’re with the same promoter so it’s a possible fight in the future.”
But Brand has the ex-British and European titleholder’s immediate attention and he stressed: “You can expect to see a sharp and explosive James DeGale and for me to put on a good performance against a world-class opponent. I’m feeling really good and I think this is going to be the best performance that I’ve put on Channel 5 so far.
“Get down there and watch some quality boxing from a future world champion and someone that’s going all the way. Jump on the bandwagon now because it’s going to be a very exciting next couple of years.”
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