James DeGale has gate-crashed the WBO's top 10 rankings after his stunning win over Paul Smith.

The new British super-middleweight champion is now rated number five by the governing body and he will aim to rise to the top of the pile by the end of 2011.

"I've always said that I want to be a world champion by 2012," said Olympic Champion DeGale..

"At the moment, I might get there a bit earlier, but whatever happens, I just want to keep on winning over the next 12 months and keep going up in those rankings.

"I always knew that if I beat Smith I'd get a decent ranking with the WBO, but this is the perfect end a good year as British Champion."

DeGale, 24, picked up the British title with a ninth round stoppage in just his ninth pro fight.

And it lead promoter Frank Warren to say that he is ahead of other British fighters he has worked with at the same stage of their careers.

Ahead of DeGale in the rankings are WBO champion Robert Stieglitz, as well as contenders Andre Dirrell, Arthur Abraham, Jean Paul Mendy and Renan St. Juste.

"I'd happily take on any of those fighters next year," said DeGale.

"I've been talking to Frank and we've got some big plans for the next 12 months.

"Obviously the fight I really want is against the Ugly Kid (George Groves), but if he says no for a second time, then I might even leave the domestic scene behind and crack straight on with European level opposition."

Article posted on 23.12.2010

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