Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I'll Finally Get Respect I Deserve When I Unify Titles, Says DeGale; Boxer Once Fought at a Kent Shopping Centre but Now Bids for Ultimate Glory in New York

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I'll Finally Get Respect I Deserve When I Unify Titles, Says DeGale; Boxer Once Fought at a Kent Shopping Centre but Now Bids for Ultimate Glory in New York

Article excerpt

Byline: John Dillon exclusive

JAMES DeGALE'S lonely trek across America has finally taken him to the boxing heartland of New York. Doing things the hard way has been soul searching but fighting in Brooklyn on Saturday will stamp his career with what he calls "old school" credibility and authority.

When DeGale takes on Badou Jack in an attempt to unify the world supermiddleweight titles, it will be his fourth successive contest across the Atlantic.

It has been a testing but successful slog as an underdog and a stranger in town through Boston, Quebec and Washington DC. Yet it was far preferable to boxing in front of a few dozen people at the City Academy Sports Centre in Bristol where DeGale found himself less than three years and only six fights ago.

"It has been difficult and there have been many bad times," says the 30-yearold. "But I've liked it that way. I am proud of it. Now I have come through it all and I am on the other side, it means I am proven. Now I can look back and say I went through so much and my quality has come through.

"I've been down and out of the limelight and then I have beaten the best in their own backyards.

"This is my time. Now, against Jack, I have my career-defining fight. These unification dates do not come along very often. Now I can show that I am number one in a division in which Britain has such a great pedigree, with world champions like Carl Froch, Nigel Benn, Richie Woodhall and Chris Eubank.

"If I do this, I'll have achieved a sequence no other British fighter has managed; Olympic champion, British and European champion, world champion and then unified world champion. Then I will really get the kudos and respect I deserve." The date with Swedish-American Jack, 33, is at the prestigious Barclays Center now one of the new premier venues in US boxing. …

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