Chunky's title target
PUBLISHED: 17:56 09 December 2009 | UPDATED: 14:48 24 August 2010
2009 Getty Images
By Ben Kosky JAMES DeGale has vowed to become British champion by the end of 2010 after recording the fifth straight win of his professional career. The Olympic gold medallist had to settle for a points success against Nathan King in Newcastle last Saturd
By Ben Kosky
JAMES DeGale has vowed to become British champion by the end of 2010 after recording the fifth straight win of his professional career.
The Olympic gold medallist had to settle for a points success against Nathan King in Newcastle last Saturday, but is eagerly looking ahead to bigger challenges in 2010.
Top of DeGale's wish list is to join the ranks of British super-middleweight title holders, a roll of honour that includes the likes of Joe Calzaghe and Carl Froch.
"This first year has been great," DeGale told the Times. "My first fight was a bit shaky but the next four have been much better, so roll on next year. I believe titles are coming my way.
"By the end of next year I want to be the British or Commonwealth champion and I feel everything's on schedule - I've always said I'd be boxing for a world title by 2012.
"I'd like the British title best because it's so prestigious - think of all the great fighters that have held it. But [promoter] Frank Warren and my coach [Jim McDonnell] will sort it and I'm confident of boxing anyone domestically."
DeGale's 40-37 victory over King was not one of his most eye-catching displays, but the Harlesden star revealed that his preparation for the bout had been thrown into disarray at a late stage.
He was originally scheduled to fight six rounds on the undercard of Amir Khan's world light-welterweight title defence against Dmitriy Salita, but TV bosses reduced the contest to a four-rounder at the eleventh hour.
"Three or four minutes before I was about to go on, the geezer from Sky came in and said they wanted to cut it down to four rounds to fit in with the show," DeGale explained. "I didn't know anything about it. That deflated me a little bit and it changed my game plan - I'm not a four-round fighter any more.
"I could maybe have done a bit more, but tough journeymen like King don't go down quickly. He's been in with the best and pushed them, but if there had been another two rounds I'd definitely have stopped him."
DeGale heads to the Caribbean for a Christmas break at the end of next week, but will again be spending many long hours in the gym under McDonnell's guidance from the start of 2010.
Warren is thought to have pencilled him in to feature on another show at the Echo Arena, Liverpool, in February, when current British title holder Paul Smith defends his crown.
But DeGale is confident of finally performing in front of his home crowd for the first time as a pro, adding: "I spoke to Frank and he said I'll definitely be fighting in London next year.
"We've got the likes of Kevin Mitchell as well as Billy Joe Saunders and myself, so we could definitely hold a show in London and sell out thousands of seats.
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