James DeGale hoping to defeat Badou Jack and secure triumphant homecoming

Published: Wednesday 4th January 2017 by The News Editor

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James DeGale has his heart set on a triumphant homecoming fight if he is able to overcome Badou Jack in their world super-middleweight title unification contest at the Barclays Center in New York next weekend.

DeGale’s last four bouts have been outside the United Kingdom, the first of which saw him claim the vacant IBF title following an impressive unanimous decision victory over Andre Dirrell in Boston in May 2015.

Points victories over Lucian Bute in Quebec, Canada, and Rogelio ‘Porky’ Medina in Washington DC have followed, the latter setting up an intriguing clash with WBC champion Jack.

While DeGale has insisted that he is fully focused on the January 14 match-up, which is also for the venerated vacant Ring Magazine belt, and has enjoyed his time abroad he is eager to fight in his homeland.

More specifically, he is eyeing his home city of London as the venue for his next fight, with the winner of his forthcoming bout slated to fight the WBC’s mandatory challenger, and DeGale’s fellow Englishman, Callum Smith.

DeGale said: “I actually like boxing away from home, it takes the pressure off you a little bit. I’m living the American Dream, I’m coming over to America, boxing in some fantastic states.

“All of my career I’ve done it the hard way: travelled away from home, won world titles. What I’ve done over in America for the past year and a half has been really good, I’m proud of myself.

“I’m just fully focused on Badou Jack. The big one’s here, the best fighting the best, champ versus champ. This is the one that I’ve been calling for.

“If everything goes to plan I will come back and box in London next fight, 100 per cent.

“I know my next fight will be in London if I come through. Everyone’s calling for the champ to come home, so that’s next in line if everything goes to plan.”

As for whether he will look to unify the division or move up to light-heavyweight, DeGale says he is motivated by the challenges.

He added: “I’m pretty easy. I want the biggest fights, the biggest risks, the biggest money, all the titles: that’s what I want.

“I do my weight pretty comfortably, super-middleweight is the perfect weight for me. But I want to be challenged – I want to be in the fights where I’m the underdog for once, that’s what I want to be.”

The 30-year-old has plenty of respect for Las Vegas-based Swede Jack, who made the first defence of his title by outpointing George Groves, who handed DeGale his only professional defeat to date in 2011.

When asked if this would be his toughest test in the paid ranks, DeGale said: “I think it’s up there, I honestly think Badou Jack is a quality fighter and doesn’t get the credit he deserves.

“Badou Jack is a hell of a fighter, an underrated fighter, he’s shown in his last three or four fights that he’s the champ and that he can compete at the highest level. He’s a quality operator.

“I’m a big favourite and I don’t really like that if I’m being honest because this is a genuine 50-50, on paper it is anyway.”

But DeGale, who has won 23 of his 24 contests, is not expecting anything out of the ordinary from his opponent.

He said: “Badou Jack is pretty basic, he’s good at everything but he’s a basic fighter.

“He hasn’t got any special effects, nothing fancy, everything is just straightforward but very, very good and he does it very, very well.”

Jack, who holds a record of 20 wins, with one loss and two draws, believes the key to victory will be his in-ring intelligence.

The 33-year-old said: “I’m the smarter fighter, period. I take nothing away from DeGale, who is a good fighter as well, but I believe in my skills and I believe in myself. I believe I’m the smarter fighter.

“It’s not just about throwing combinations or being flashy, it’s about being smart.”

Published: Wednesday 4th January 2017 by The News Editor

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