British Boxing News: James DeGale; John O’Donnell; Enzo Maccarinelli

Olympic champion James DeGale faced his toughest opponent yet today - The Queen. DeGale picked up an MBE from Her Majesty at Buckingham Palace, along with other British stars of the 2008 Games. "I was pretty nervous, it's much more frightening than boxing!" said DeGale, who was honoured after landing the middleweight title in China. "But the Queen was fantastic and I actually had quite a long chat with her. She was asking me about my boxing and how I started out - hopefully she'll now become a fan..

"Being given the MBE is a fantastic honour, and it made me so proud today.

"Afterwards they play the national anthem, and it gave me goose bumps and reminded me of winning the gold medal in Beijing. It was quite a feeling.

"Last year I promised myself that I would win gold in China, and I managed to make that dream come true. Now I have to prove myself all over again in the professional ranks though."

DeGale didn't spend too long in central London, heading straight to the gym after the ceremony.

It's so he will be in excellent shape for his second professional fight, which takes place in Belfast on either May 8 or May 9.

The 23-year-old got his paid career off to the best possible start with a comprehensive four-round win in Birmingham last month.

O’Donnell takes inspiration from Froch ahead of Watson fight

John O’Donnell says he’s taking inspiration from WBC Super Middleweight kingpin Carl Froch ahead of his Commonwealth title challenge in London next month. O’Donnell takes on Craig Watson at the York Hall for his Commonwealth Welterweight title on a Hennessy Sports show which is being screened live on ITV4 on April 11th.

Froch of course has a massive night of his own to look forward to next month as he crosses the Atlantic to put his WBC title on the line against Jermain Taylor in the first defence. With both men trained by Robert McCracken O’Donnell is hoping that he can go on to emulate Froch’s achievements starting with ripping the Commonwealth title away from Watson.

“Carl did things the traditional way by winning the British and Commonwealth titles and I’d like to do the same,” said O’Donnell. “I see Carl day in, day out in the gym and he’s an inspiration to me.

“He’s a world class fighter with world class ability but he still works harder than any other fighter I know and he’s a great role model for young fighters like myself coming through. He just wants to prove that he’s the best out there and he’s shown that by going over to fight Jermain Taylor in the U.S.

“I can’t think of too many other fighters that would take a massive fight like that for their first defence but that’s Carl’s mentality. When you’re rubbing shoulders with guys like that in the gym it brings you on because you get to see exactly what it takes to reach the top.”

O’Donnell believes that a victory over Watson will go some way to propelling him towards the top of the British and European welterweight ratings. “I’ve a lot of respect for Watson because he’s a tricky southpaw and I think he’s underrated but I’m confident I can do a job on him. Training’s going perfectly and I’m really stepping up my sparring now this week so by fight night I should be in the best shape of my life.”

O’Donnell’s Commonwealth title bid headlines a fantastic line-up of championship boxing at the legendary York Hall in Bethnal Green. In the chief support bout Lenny Daws meets Peter McDonagh for the English Light Welterweight title. Steve O’Meara and hot prospect, Bradley Evans also feature on the undercard. Tickets are available from the Ticketline box office on 0844 888 4402 or via

Big Mac wants a rematch

Enzo Maccarinelli admits he is “embarrassed” by his performance against Ola Afolabi last weekend, but has revealed a rematch could already be on the cards. Maccarinelli suffered a knockout in the ninth round against Afolabi destroying any hopes of regaining his world title.

Maccarinelli told the Steve Bunce Boxing Hour on Setanta Sports News the only thing he wanted was a rematch and that Afolabi had verbally agreed. He said:

“As soon as the fight finished I asked him that straight away. He agreed to give me it, whether it happens is a different thing. That is the only thing that’s going to make my head feel right at the moment.

“With the David Haye fight there was always a chance one of us would get caught cleanly. I can come to terms with that. This one I can’t because I believe if we boxed a million times he’d only beat me that once.

“I’m quite embarrassed with my performance last Saturday.”

Article posted on 19.03.2009

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