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

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

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

A Conservative councillor is calling for a world boxing champion from Harlesden to be given the freedom of the borough.

Cllr Joel Davidson, Conservative councillor for Brondesbury Park, is nominating James DeGale MBE for the prestigious accolade after he was crowned the IBF super middleweight world champion last month.

The 29-year-old, who started amateur boxing at the age of 10 at the Trojan Boxing Club which was based in Stonebridge at the time, defeated Andre Dirrell to win the title

Cllr Davidson said he has emailed Cllr Muhammed Butt, Labour leader of Brent Council, with his nomination but says he has been met with silence so he will push for it at the next council meeting.

He said: “James DeGale is the first Olympic gold medallist in Harlesden and is a great example to kids in Brent.

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“I do hope that the fact that this has come from me hasn’t jeopardised it as that would be a real shame.

“This is an award that should be given to James on behalf of the people of Brent and should not be a political matter at all.

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“If Cllr Butt doesn’t get back to me we will propose it as a question at the next general meeting.”

A council spokesman said: “We are all proud of James DeGale’s achievements and he is a positive role model for people in the borough and an example to us all that anything can be achieved through hard work.

“The freedom of the borough is the highest award that the council can give and requires a vote by full council.

“It is not in the power of any single councillor to decide who should receive the award.”

Previous recipients of the freedom of the borough are the late South African president Nelson Mandela and Nicolas Kent, the former artistic director of the tricycle Theatre in Kilburn.

Related link: World champion DeGale happy to fight anyone after beating Dirrell in Boston

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