Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

DeGale Set for 'Risky' Fight with Champion

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

DeGale Set for 'Risky' Fight with Champion

Article excerpt

JAMES DeGale accepts he is taking a risk by agreeing to fight champion Paul Smith for the British supermiddleweight title.

The rivals will meet at the Liverpool Echo Arena on December 11 as part of an event Frank Warren is staging to celebrate his 30th anniversary as a promoter.

Topping the bill will be WBO interim light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly against an as-yet unnamed opponent, but the first real test of DeGale's professional career will also be eagerly awaited.

The encounter represents a significant step up in class for the Olympic gold medalist, who has yet to be taken beyond five rounds in his eight fights.

In contrast Smith has a solitary defeat in 30 contests and seized the British title from fellow Liverpudlian Tony Quigley in October last year.

It is a brave move by DeGale but the 24-year-old insists he is ready to dethrone the champion in his own back yard.

"It's a big step up in class because Paul Smith is the best super-middleweight in Britain," he said. "I used to watch him when we were in the England camp and I've seen him grow during his seven years as a pro. …

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