DeGale defeat may be a blessing in disguise
PUBLISHED: 13:23 25 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:17 24 August 2010
By Ben Kosky JAMES DeGale s trainer believes the Olympic middleweight prospect will benefit long-term from his EU Championships defeat by old rival Darren Sutherland. DeGale lost out to the Irishman for the fourth time in five meetings on Sunday and had t
By Ben Kosky
JAMES DeGale's trainer believes the Olympic middleweight prospect will benefit long-term from his EU Championships defeat by old rival Darren Sutherland.
DeGale lost out to the Irishman for the fourth time in five meetings on Sunday and had to settle for a silver medal at the tournament in Poland - his last warm-up for the Beijing Olympics in August.
A long right from Sutherland sent the Harlesden man to the canvas in the opening round of the final and, although DeGale gave his opponent a count in the third, he was unable to make up a 22-16 points deficit.
But Steve Newland, who trains DeGale at Dale Youth Club in Ladbroke Grove, said: "That's a wake-up call for James. He tried to meet Sutherland head-on and now he's learned a lesson.
"Don't mix it with him, don't go toe-to-toe - you've got to get your feet moving and make him miss. When James is moving and boxing, no-one can catch him.
"Obviously it would have been nice to beat him at his own game for psychological reasons, but I think it's such a good thing to have boxed him now.
"It wouldn't bother James at all to end up with Sutherland again in the Olympics and I really think he will win the big one.
"They're both people everyone else will want to avoid and they cancel each other out a lot.
"A gold medal would have been nice but, with the Olympics just around the corner, these championships take second stage at the moment.
"He's training to peak in August, whereas normally he'd have been training to peak for these championships."
DeGale, 22, began the EU tournament in convincing style as he dominated Austrian opponent Oliver Obradovic with a sequence of quick, accurate punches and emerged victorious by 21 points to one.
And he continued that form in the semi-final against Omer Aydogan of Turkey, forcing two standing counts in the second round and running out a 29-3 winner.
The final then gave DeGale an opportunity to avenge his controversial defeat by Sutherland at the 2007 tournament in Dublin, but he had to be content with a second successive EU silver medal instead.
DeGale and the rest of the GB Olympic squad - who won a total of four gold medals, three silver and one bronze in Poland - will now head off to a pre-Olympic training camp in France.
They travel to Beijing at the end of next month.
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