DeGale ready to rule world

Olympic gold medal­list has chance to unify su­per-mid­dleweight divi­sion

The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - Sport -

James DeGale is primed to prove his cre­den­tials as an elite fighter when he takes on Badou Jack in their world su­per-mid­dleweight uni­fi­ca­tion ti­tle bout in New York early to­mor­row.

IBF cham­pion DeGale can lay claim to be­ing the best com­bat­ant in the 168lb divi­sion if he walks away from the Bar­clays Cen­tre with two of the four ma­jor belts, with Jack hold­ing the WBC strap.

DeGale, who has won 23 of his 24 pro­fes­sional bouts, is the over­whelm­ing favourite to tri­umph with the Bri­tish book­mak­ers and the Lon­doner hopes the show­down will sig­nif­i­cantly raise his pro­file.

He said: “This is the mo­ment. The time is now and I’m ready. My whole team is primed for a great per­for­mance. I’m ready to prove that I’m one of the best fight­ers in the world.

“I can’t wait to re­turn to the UK as a uni­fied world cham­pion. This is a great fight for box­ing and it’s go­ing to raise my ap­peal all over the world.”

De­spite win­ning an Olympic gold medal in 2008, DeGale has had a dif­fi­cult route to the top, first cap­tur­ing a por­tion of the world ti­tle in the United States and his two de­fences have also been in North Amer­ica.

While DeGale is adamant he will next fight in Bri­tain should he de­feat Jack, he be­lieves his time on the road has broad­ened his ap­peal to au­di­ences in the United States.

He is there­fore hop­ing those in at­ten­dance in Brook­lyn will cheer him to vic­tory against the Las Ve­gas-based Swede.

The 30-year-old added: “I’m ex­pect­ing to have a lot of sup­port on Satur­day night. My pro­file in Amer­ica has been grow­ing and I think there will be sup­port in the build­ing. As a young kid you al­ways wanted to come to Amer­ica and be­come a star.

“I’m pre­pared if the fight goes 12 rounds or one round. My train­ing has been per­fect and it’s all go­ing to come to­gether on fight night. I have no doubt that I will be vic­to­ri­ous and be­come the su­per- mid­dleweight uni­fied world cham­pion.”

Jack, who boasts a win against Ge­orge Groves, the only fighter to de­feat DeGale in the paid ranks, has cut a more sub­dued pres­ence in the build-up than the talk­a­tive DeGale.

But the 33-year-old, who like DeGale has only lost once as a pro­fes­sional, said: “On fight night, none of the talk mat­ters. You have to back it up in the ring. I’m just ex­cited about the fight. I’m not fo­cused on any­thing else other than that. I just need to win.”

“I’m ready to prove that I’m one of the best in the world”

PAIR OF BELTERS: Fight pro­moter Floyd May­weather is flanked by James DeGale, left, and Badou Jack at last night’s weigh-in in New York

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