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James DeGale: I always knew I’d be a world champion

07:00 20 November 2015

James DeGale poses with his IBF super middleweight title at the Emirates last month

James DeGale poses with his IBF super middleweight title at the Emirates last month

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Harlesden boxer James DeGale insists he never had any doubt in his mind that he would one day become a world champion, as the 29-year-old seeks to defend his IBF super middleweight title in Canada next week.

The 29-year-old shows off his IBF super middleweight belt that he won after defeating Andre Dirrell, at the O2 Arena, London.The 29-year-old shows off his IBF super middleweight belt that he won after defeating Andre Dirrell, at the O2 Arena, London.

DeGale became the first British boxer to win an Olympic gold medal and a world title back in May as he put in an impressive display to get the better of Andre Dirrell via an unanimous decision in Boston.

And since that moment ‘Chunky’ hasn’t looked back, with the former Dale Youth ABC star champing at the bit for even more succcess.

He told the Times: “I always knew I’d achieve my dream of winning a world title.

“Even when I lost to George Groves (in 2011) all those years ago, the thought of failure never entered my mind. That was just a chapter in my life, nothing more than a blip, and now I’ve moved on and made my dreams a reality.

“I’m in such a strong place now, and it’s nice that I’m changing people’s perceptions of me in the meantime, too.”

DeGale, who has potential bouts with Badou Jack and Martin Murray on his horizon, says he is relishing next weekend’s bout against Lucian Bute – a former IBF world super middleweight champion on 10 occasions in the past – and travelling abroad again isn’t something which fazes him.

He added: “Going away to defend my title takes the pressure off me a bit really.

“I enjoy being part of hostile crowds – that only drives me on more – so roll on November 28.

“I think I’m too young and too fresh for him (Bute).

“Don’t get me wrong, he’s a strong fighter and he’s a proven champion, but I’m coming into this on the back of beating one of the best fighters in this division (Andre Dirrell) – so no one fazes me.”

DeGale says nothing has changed in terms of his preparation and training regimes to what he has done ahead of previous bouts in the past, insisting he is in the best shape possible ahead of his title defence.

“I’ve been training like a challenger again,” he said. “My preparation with my trainer Jim (McDonnell) couldn’t have gone any better.

“I’ve got my one world title but I’m not stopping there.

“I want many more of them, so I’ll just keep making sure every time I step into the ring I’m in the best condition I can possibly be in.

“As long as I keep doing that I’ll remain the champion, I have no doubt about that.”

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