DeGale determined to strike gold before Beijing
PUBLISHED: 14:10 11 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:17 24 August 2010
2008 Getty Images
By Ben Kosky BEIJING-BOUND James DeGale is confident of rounding off his preparations for the Olympics with a gold medal next week at the EU Championships. The Harlesden middleweight travels to Cetniwo, Poland, for his last tournament before he steps into
By Ben Kosky
BEIJING-BOUND James DeGale is confident of rounding off his preparations for the Olympics with a gold medal next week at the EU Championships.
The Harlesden middleweight travels to Cetniwo, Poland, for his last tournament before he steps into the Olympic arena in just two months' time.
It is also DeGale's first competitive action since he secured Olympic qualification back in February and the 22-year-old told the Times: "I can't wait.
"I've had a good little rest and I don't mind doing the TV and press stuff - I could get used to that. But now I want to get back in the ring and see what's there.
"I'll take this as a quality sparring session and it's really about the way I perform. It doesn't matter too much about the medals - Beijing is where the medals are going to matter.
"With that said, I won a silver medal last year and it'd be nice to get gold this time in a tournament that's known and respected. I think I will win a gold and that'd be a big boost for the Olympics."
The Dale Youth boxer may get the opportunity to settle a score from the 2007 EU Championships in Dublin, when he lost out in the semi-finals to hometown favourite Darren Sutherland.
The Irishman had proved to be something of a jinx for DeGale, defeating him in all three meetings prior to February's Olympic qualifier in Italy, when the England international triumphed 23-22.
"It's going to be very competitive and my main threat will probably be Sutherland, once again," admitted DeGale. "I'm looking forward to making it 3-2 - and who knows, maybe 3-3 at the Olympics."
After the EU tournament, DeGale will join the rest of the GB squad at a week-long training camp in France before they fly to the Far East to try and turn their Olympic dreams into reality.
Those who do can expect lucrative professional offers to begin flooding in - but DeGale says it is far too early to make firm plans for his future prior to Beijing.
"Every boxer wants to go professional at some stage and I'm no different," he added. "I've medalled at the Commonwealth Games and, if I can medal at the Olympics as well, that makes a big difference.
"Then it'd be a case of seeing what England could offer me and seeing what professional boxing could offer me - but long term we'll just have to see."
FORMER Dale Youth Club star Steve O'Meara made it two wins from two since turning pro as he stopped Dontre King in Philadelphia on Friday.
Light-middleweight O'Meara sent King - a former national novices finalist in the USA - to the canvas in the second of four scheduled rounds at the 'Legendary Blue Horizon'.
Although King got to his feet, he was unable to continue and the referee stopped the contest to confirm the first technical knockout of O'Meara's fledgling professional career.
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