DeGale ready to rule world
Olympic gold medallist has chance to unify super-middleweight division
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