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Successful defence can take DeGale closer to world title shot

PUBLISHED: 11:54 06 June 2013

James DeGale

James DeGale

Chris Royle/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League images are subject to DataCo Licencing restrictions

James DeGale insists the WBC silver championship represents his best route to a world title as he gears up to defend the belt this weekend.

The Harlesden super-middleweight won the WBC silver title six months ago and gave up the European crown soon afterwards to concentrate on building his ranking with the world governing body.

Ironically, DeGale has yet to defend his belt after a March meeting with Colombia’s Alexander Brand was called off, but he will finally do battle with latest challenger Stjepan Bozic on Saturday at Glow, Bluewater.

And the former Olympic gold medallist is convinced that his decision to surrender the European strap in favour of the WBC silver championship will pay off in the long run.

“I’m ranked highly with the world governing bodies and I’ve got to keep looking good, progressing and making my way up those rankings,” DeGale told london24.com.

“Any of the four would do me. My highest ranking is with the WBO, but obviously I’m the WBC silver champion and that’s the most prestigious – it’s been around the longest.

“If I’d kept defending the European title I’d only be boxing people from Europe. Winning a WBC title and keeping it gives you a different variety of opponents, different styles and a better ranking.

“I won a European title and I defended it twice, so I’ve been there and done that. It’s a prestigious title and a lot of great fighters have held it, so you want to win it and defend it, then move on.

“I’m looking to be the first ever British Olympic gold medallist who goes on and wins a professional world title and I just want to show the British fight fans what I’m made of.

“Whoever gets put in front of me, I’m training for like it was a world title fight. I know that there are big names out there, but the first thing I have to do is take care of Stjepan Bozic.”

DeGale – who is ranked number three with the WBO, five with the WBC and six with the IBF – boxed for the first time this year when he stopped Sebastien Demers in the second round in Canada last month.

But the 27-year-old is likely to encounter sterner opposition from Bozic, a former WBA world title challenger, when the pair clash at the head of Saturday’s Hennessy Sports bill.

Slovenian-born Croatian Bozic, who has won 26 of his 32 professional bouts, held the WBA inter-continental title before going on to fight Dimitri Sartison for the world crown in 2009.

The show, which will be screened live on Channel Five, also features WBC international super-bantamweight champion Kid Galahad, world youth super-heavyweight champion Hughie Fury and middleweight Chris Eubank Jr.

“I’m excited to be boxing at Glow again – it may not be London, but it’s near enough,” added DeGale. “Last time I had a good crowd there, about 3,000 people, and it was a good buzz.

“It’s a nice venue and I’m looking forward to going back there and putting on a great show and a good performance.”

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