• Super middleweight

DeGale gets eliminator for world title shot

January 22, 2014
James DeGale defeated Dyah Davis by unanimous decision in November © PA Photos

Super middleweight contender James DeGale won an Olympic gold medal for Great Britain in 2008. As a pro, he has won the European and British titles, traditional belts that Brits typically strive for on their way to a world title opportunity.

Now DeGale is in perfect position to eventually challenge for a world title.

One of the sanctioning organisations has ordered DeGale (17-1, 11 KOs) to face Las Vegas-based Badou Jack (16-0-1, 11 KOs), a 2008 Olympian for Gambia, in a final eliminator for the right to become the mandatory challenger for titlist Sakio Bika.

"This is the fight I've been aiming towards and it's one I'm going to take with both hands," said DeGale, whose only loss was by close decision to countryman and rival George Groves in 2011. "I'm 100 percent fit, 100 percent hungry and I'm good to go."

DeGale has won seven fights in a row since the loss to Groves. Jack, who is promoted by pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr., suffered the lone blemish on his record in September, fighting to a draw with Marco Antonio Periban. Jack then won his next bout.

DeGale said he hopes the fight with Jack can happen on March 1, although there is no deal set at this point and it could wind up going to a purse bid.

Jack's camp is interested in making the fight.

"I haven't had any discussions at all or negotiations with their side at this point, but the fight will get done and get done in due time," Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe told ESPN. "We would love to make the fight."

Regardless of when the fight happens, DeGale is on the path he hoped he would be on - one step away from fighting for a world title.

"James is a proven world-class fighter, and I'm delighted to have secured him this opportunity, because he has worked so hard for his chance," promoter Mick Hennessy said. "He has done things properly. He has paid his dues, so it is only right that he goes on towards the prestigious world title.

"We're now in the private negotiation period and if we cannot come to an agreement with Jack's representatives, it will go to purse bids on February 14. We have already made an offer to Mayweather Promotions for this fight to take place in England on March 1 and we are awaiting a reply. The great thing about eliminators and mandatory positions is that fighters are forced to face each other, as no one was in a hurry to face James."

Ellerbe said Jack's side isn't considering taking an offer to go to England for the fight, despite Hennessy's interest.

"We're not interested in doing anything like that," Ellerbe said.

This article originally appeared on ESPN.com

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