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Councillor loses bid to have Harlesden world boxing champion James Degale recognised by Brent Council

PUBLISHED: 14:21 23 June 2015 | UPDATED: 10:06 24 June 2015

Harlesden's James DeGale is the  IBF world champion. Pic: Mark Robinson

Harlesden's James DeGale is the IBF world champion. Pic: Mark Robinson

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A Brondesbury Park councillor lost his bid to have a Harlesden Olympic and world champion boxer recognised by the borough despite a poll showing two thirds of Times’ readers supported him.

Results of the Times' readers pollResults of the Times' readers poll

Cllr Joel Davidson, Conservative councillor for Brondesbury Park, asked that James DeGale MBE, 29, be awarded freedom of the borough at a full council meeting held yesterday evening.

He said: “Harlesden’s James DeGale is the first British boxer ever to win an Olympic gold and world championship title. He has brought great credit to Brent and deserves freedom of the borough. So far Cllr Butt and the Mayor have ignored my proposal.”

Cllr Muhammed Butt, Labour leader of the council, declined the request saying that he didn’t have “omnipitent powers”.

He added: “Only the full council can bestow such an honour on an individual. It would have been more fitting for you to talk to us, given us an opportunity to have a discussion and bring a full and proper report to the council for the full council to make that decision.”

An online readers’ poll by the Times showed 68 per cent of respondents supported Cllr Davidson’s bid, 21 were against and 11 were unsure.

Mr DeGale, who was made an MBE in 2008, started amateur boxing at the age of 10 at the Trojan Boxing Club, which was then based in Stonebridge, defeated Andre Dirrell to win the title.

Cllr Lesley Jones, mayor of Brent, said: “We are looking for very senior people. The last person was Nelson Mandela.”

Related link: Brent councillor nominates world boxing champion James DeGale for freedom of borough accolade

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