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James DeGale v Badou Jack: Briton is ready to prove himself ‘as one of world’s best’


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Will champion DeGale step out of the shadows?

IBF super-middleweight champion James DeGale intends to prove he is “one of the best fighters in the world” in his unification bout with WBC champion Badou Jack in New York.

The Briton, 30, fights Sweden’s Jack, 34, at around 03:30 GMT on Sunday.

DeGale weighed in 1.5lb (0.68kg) inside the 12-stone (76.2kg) limit, while Jack was 0.75lb (0.34kg) inside.

“This is the moment. I can’t wait to return to the UK as a unified world champion,” DeGale said.

He added: “This is a great fight for boxing and it’s going to raise my appeal all over the world.”

DeGale, who has won 23 of his 24 professional bouts, has admitted money is another motivation for victory.

“I’ve worked hard all my life,” he told BBC Radio 5 live. “Now I’ve got myself in a position where I can financially secure me and my family.

“It’s time to strike while the iron’s hot, get in the big fights, earn my money and run.”

The 2008 Olympic gold medallist added: “It’s not just about the money but I’m a prizefighter.

“I’ve got all the accolades now, the only thing that’s missing is the millions in the bank.”

His opponent Jack, who has 20 wins, two draws and one defeat on his record, has million-dollar backing behind him as he is managed by Floyd Mayweather.

DeGale has prepared for the fight with a strength and conditioning coach – the first time he has used one.

“It’s because I was getting fatigued in fights,” he explained.

He also said he had dreamt of fighting in New York since he was a child, watching his hero, Britain’s former world featherweight champion Naseem Hamed, against Kevin Kelley.

“At the age of 10, I was thinking, ‘yes, that’s going to be me’,” he said. “I’m living the dream.”