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James DeGale

Fromer Olympics gold medalist now has the IBF title in his sights

Last Updated: 17/11/14 2:49pm

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James DeGale will battle for a world title shot on British boxing's biggest stage, but it has not been an easy journey for the Olympic gold medalist.

DeGale turned professional in 2009 amid the glare of the media spotlight following his gold medal success at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The facts

From: Harlesden
Born:February 3, 1986
Age: 28
Nickname: Chunky
Division: Super-middleweight
Stance: Southpaw
Height: 6ft 0in

Fights: 19
Won:18
Lost:1
Drawn: 0
KO: 12 (63.13%)

There was already plenty of expectation on the shoulders of the young fighter, who was unfairly booed on his debut, a routine points win over Vepkhia Tchilaia.

A string of wins followed as DeGale adjusted well to the paid ranks and his improved punching power was evident in a first round stoppage of Carl Dilks. Such swift progress earned him a shot at British champion Paul Smith in only his 10th fight.

Smith had suggested his younger foe was being moved too quickly, but DeGale delivered a dominant display, halting the Liverpudlian in the ninth round.

In spite of this success, DeGale could not avoid questions about his fierce rival George Groves. A feud between the pair had simmered since Groves defeated him in their amateur days.

Narrow

An ugly war of words ensued in the build-up and DeGale seemed to lose his composure in the ring, allowing Groves to pick apart his defences in a narrow points defeat.

His unbeaten record was gone, but DeGale quickly attempted to rebuild, challenging Piotr Wilczewski for the European title later that year. The tough Pole proved a stern test for DeGale, who had to overcome a cut and a shaky fifth round on the way to a points victory.

DeGale further repaired his reputation with a stoppage win over former world champion Cristian Sanavia in April 2012. He would make another defence of the belt, a wide verdict over Hadilah Mohoumadi, before turning his attention to world honours.

His rise up the rankings continued with a second-round demolition of ex-world title challenger Sebastien Demers last May. The unbeaten Gevorg Khatchikian was then halted in the 11th round in January, edging DeGale closer to the big names.

Fighting on the undercard of Froch v Groves II in May 2014, DeGale stopped Brandon Gonzalez in four rounds to further enhance his claims for a world title tilt - and also show that his power and precision are now sharper than ever.

The path to a world crown has not been easy for the Olympic hero, but he is back in the spotlight, within touching distance of a title shot.

Watch DeGale v Periban live and exclusive as part of Cleverly v Bellew II, on Sky Sports Box Office on November 22, with Joshua, Groves, Smith and more, also on. Go to skysports.com/cleverlybellew to book. 

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