Paul Smith-James DeGale Confirmed For Warren’s December 11th “Anniversary Show”

By James Slater: Promoter Frank Warren’s latest big show is taking shape. Set to go ahead at The Echo Arena in Liverpool on December 11th, the card - which will celebrate the promoter’s 30th year in boxing - will feature stars/stars of the future: James DeGale (Vs. British champ Paul Smith, the only match-up as of yet confirmed), Nathan Cleverly, Matthew Macklin, Kell Brook, Fankie Gavin and Tony Bellew.

Warren’s last big show, “The Magnificent Seven,” from September, was a great night and it should be the same result with the December show (which, incidentally, falls on the same night that Derek Chisora will make his audacious challenge of heavyweight ruler Wladimir Klitschko, as well as being the same night Amir Khan will defend his WBA 140-pound crown against Marcos Maidana. Some night for British boxing then!).

It’s possible unbeaten light-heavyweight Cleverly, the man who stole the show in September, will face Juergen Braehmer in Liverpool, for the WBO title the German holds. However, the world champ has that assault charge hanging over him, and he may not be allowed to fight - in which case Cleverly would perhaps fight someone else for the vacant belt.

The one fight that has been confirmed, Smith Vs. DeGale, is a big match-up in itself. Can the 2008 Olympic gold medallist make the step up and beat someone of Smith’s calibre at this stage in his career? Or is “Chunky” being moved too fast?

24-year-old DeGale, still only eight fights into his pro career (all wins, 6 inside the distance) certainly looked great last time out, when he halted the tough Carl Dilks inside a single round. And the gifted southpaw has claimed for some time now that he is not only capable of wining the British title, but also a world title. Smith, though, will have something to say about it in two month’s time.

Aged 28 and 29-1(15) as a pro, the British super-middleweight ruler has never been stopped, he has retained his title one time and he is determined to keep hold of it for a lot longer. Having been the 12-round limit a couple of times, the Liverpool man knows he has good stamina. DeGale, by contrast, has yet to be taken beyond five-rounds. I’m not suggesting “Chunky” will have problems going 12 if he has to but, as the great Alex Wallau once said, “until you’ve done it you don’t know you can do it.”

This fight will be a big test for DeGale. Or at least it should be. Dilks, too, was supposed to take the Olympian into the deep waters, and look what happened to him. It really would be a huge statement if DeGale were able to do something similar to Smith!

It may be worth noticing that Smith has not faced a southpaw since June of 2008, when he lost over ten-rounds to Steven Bendall. Will DeGale’s stance give the four years-older man problems?

With fine wins over the likes of Tony Quigley and Tony Dodson behind him (Smith’s last two fights), the British champ has to be looked at as a fighter capable of asking DeGale some tough questions. Will the wannabe star have the right answers?

Article posted on 15.10.2010

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