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What next for super middleweight star James DeGale?

| 08.07.2013

Former Olympic gold medallist James DeGale stretched his winning streak inside the squared circle to six fights with a fourth stoppage victory over Stjepan Bozic at Bluewater in Kent, extending his career ledger to 16-1 in the process.

After the bout – in which “Chunky” retained his WBC Silver Super Middleweight strap – the Harlesden native was quick to talk of big fights and the pursuit of world titles, with WBA and IBF boss Carl Froch and old Great Britain amateur rival George Groves on DeGale’s a la carte menu.

DeGale told reporters that Froch would find the going tough against his combination of hand speed and footwork, attributes the would-be challenger believes he has in common with Mikkel Kessler and Andre Ward, the only men to best the Nottingham fighter during his 33 fight pro career.

In the past Froch has been dismissive about the challenge posed by domestic super middleweights DeGale and Groves, suggesting he would end their careers if either faced him.

With “Chunky” ranked highest in the WBO pecking order, it may be that their champion Robert Stieglitz is the most realistic option when it comes to fighting for a world championship at 168lbs in the near future.

DeGale is also high up in the WBC hierarchy, but with Sakio Bika and Marco Antonio Periban due to face off for their vacant title later in the month, he would have to wait to face the winner, something which he had suggested he would be keen to do in the past.

However, just as in the WBO rankings, old enemy Groves outranks him and it’s rematch between the British pair that makes most sense at the moment.

DeGale still broods about his points defeat to Groves at the o2 in November 2011 and would relish the chance to even the score with the Matchroom Sports inmate. Soiling Groves’ – seventh ranked contender to Ring Magazine Middleweight Champion Andre Ward – 19-fight unbeaten professional record would surely make him harder to ignore in world championship discussions than handing out beatings to no-marks like Bozic, who had lost three of his previous six encounters.

Overcoming Groves would prove that DeGale has learned from the mistakes which cost him in the pair’s first clash, where a failure to push the envelope when in the ascendancy cost him dearly.

At this stage “Chunky” has to show much more than he did against his Croatian opponent to excite the matchmakers. What better way could there be to do that than by evening the score in a potentially lucrative domestic showdown with Groves?

Tyson Fury has ramped up speculation that he is set to clash with David Haye in just such a “Battle of Britain” in the near future, with the Guardian quoting him as saying a deal to make the bout happen is ’99 per cent done’.

Fury is the 3/1 underdog in a potential match-up with former world heavyweight champion Haye the 2/9 favourite.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



Thomas Reynolds