DeGale prepared to go after one of the World titles next year

James DegaleNew British champion James DeGale wants to become a world champion next year. The 24-year-old's grand plan has always been to challenge at the highest level in 2012. But his one-sided demolition of Paul Smith has persuaded him that he can move up even quicker.

DeGale beat his Liverpool rival in a near-perfect display, eventually stopping Smith in the ninth.

It was just his ninth pro fight, and prompted promoter Frank Warren to suggest DeGale was well ahead of the likes of Amir Khan and Naseem Hamed at similar stages of their careers.

"It's nice to get praise, but always knew that I was capable of Saturday's win," said DeGale.

"However it's made me realize that I can compete with the best in the world right now.

"I think my plan would be to defend the British title a couple of times early in 2011, then move on to the European, and try and get a world title shot at the end of next year..

"My target has previously been to be a world champion in 2012, but there's no reason why that can't be brought forward a year or so.

"There are some quality fighters at super-middleweight, but there are a few who have been around for a while and might be coming towards the end of their careers.

"Obviously the guy everyone is talking about at the moment is Andre Ward.

"We are both Olympic gold medallists, both unbeaten as pros. What a fight that would be a couple of years down the line."

Article posted on 21.12.2010

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