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Chunky can be champion right now

PUBLISHED: 13:56 17 February 2010 | UPDATED: 14:53 24 August 2010

MIDDLEWEIGHT CONTEST 6 X 3MINUTE ROUNDS BETWEEN JAMES DeGALE V MATTHEW BARR.
JAMES DeGALE WON IN THE SECOND ROUND.

MIDDLEWEIGHT CONTEST 6 X 3MINUTE ROUNDS BETWEEN JAMES DeGALE V MATTHEW BARR. JAMES DeGALE WON IN THE SECOND ROUND.

GERARD FARRELL / DZ PICTURES TEL: 0044-7831-396-923

By Ben Kosky JAMES DeGale s trainer believes his man is good enough to win a title now after watching him demolish Matthew Barr on Saturday at Wembley Arena. DeGale s second-round knockout of Barr was only his sixth victory since turning professional, but

By Ben Kosky

JAMES DeGale's trainer believes his man is good enough to win a title now after watching him demolish Matthew Barr on Saturday at Wembley Arena.

DeGale's second-round knockout of Barr was only his sixth victory since turning professional, but trainer Jim McDonnell says the Harlesden super-middleweight is on the verge of becoming a champion.

Asked to assess whether DeGale was on track for a title challenge by the end of 2010, McDonnell told the Times: "One million per cent. I believe James is the best British, Commonwealth and European champion right now.

"If you look at the three guys who have got those belts, I'd back James against all three of them. It's a learning curve, but Frank [Warren] is keen to get him fighting for a title this year.

"I said when he turned professional I was going to train him for a 12-round career - but he's so good at what he does, even guys who are more experienced than him are not going to get to six or eight rounds."

Thirty-two-year-old Barr fell into that category on Saturday, although he caught the Olympic gold medallist a couple of times in the opening round as DeGale's eagerness to impress his home crowd left him exposed.

But DeGale landed a tasty right-hander on his opponent towards the end of the round and a classy counter-punch dropped Barr to his knees early in the second.

Barr carried on gamely, but a vicious left sent him to the canvas again and a right hook finished him off soon afterwards, with referee Grant Wallis ending the contest after one minute 38 seconds.

"James rushed it a little bit," admitted McDonnell. "He'd sold 500 tickets himself and I think he wanted to please every one of them, so at the start he was a little bit anxious.

"He's only just turned 24 and I think that showed. At the end of the first round I said 'calm down, be professional and pick your shots - you're in a different league to this kid'.

"You could see in the second round it was a different situation. For me it was a steady performance overall and he went out and did a professional job."

On the same night, former Wembley-based heavyweight Coleman Barrett claimed the vacant Irish championship with a points victory over Colin Kenna in Dublin.


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