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British boxer James DeGale targets 2011 world title bid

Paul Smith and James DeGale
Londoner DeGale is now unbeaten in nine professional fights

New British super-middleweight champion James DeGale is targeting a shot at a world title in 2011.

DeGale, 24, won the British title after a ninth-round stoppage of Paul Smith this month to round off a fine year for the Olympic gold medallist.

It was his ninth professional victory and DeGale hopes to add more next year.

"My plan would be to defend the British title, then move on to the European, and try and get a world title shot by the end of the year," said DeGale.

His victory in Liverpool over the seasoned Smith was his finest performance since turning professional in 2009.

It showed DeGale's credentials as a potential world champion with promoter Frank Warren declaring his man to be ahead of Amir Khan and Naseem Hamed at similar stages of their careers.


The performance against Smith was also a shot in the arm for DeGale who is now convinced he can compete at the highest level, sooner rather than later.

"It's nice to get praise, but I always knew that I was capable of the win [against Smith]," added DeGale.

"However it's made me realise that I can compete with the best in the world right now.

"My target has previously been to be a world champion in 2012, but there's no reason why that can't be brought forward a year or so."

Britain's Carl Froch is the WBC super-middleweight champion and is competing in the Super Six series alongside WBA title holder Andre Ward.

The IBF belt is held by Lucian Bute, who takes on Northern Ireland's Brian Magee in Montreal on 19 March, while Robert Stieglitz is the WBO's champion at super-middleweight.

DeGale admits he may struggle to land a world title shot against those names in 2011 but the Londoner is not ruling anything out. However, if Magee fails to overcome Bute then a fight with the 35-year-old could also be on the cards, as could a much-awaited clash with Commonwealth champion George Groves.

"There are some quality fighters at super-middleweight, but there are a few who have been around for a while and might be coming towards the end of their careers," said DeGale.

"Obviously the guy everyone is talking about at the moment is Andre Ward.

"We are both Olympic gold medallists, both unbeaten as pros. What a fight that would be a couple of years down the line."

see also
Magee to get crack at world title
16 Dec 10 |  Boxing
DeGale stops Smith in ninth round
12 Dec 10 |  Boxing
Photos from Las Vegas & Liverpool
11 Dec 10 |  Boxing
DeGale to face Smith in December
14 Oct 10 |  Boxing

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