DeGale inspired by Honeyghan, plans US Dirrell destruction

Dom Farrell 18/05/2015
James DeGale

Lawrence Lustig

James DeGale believes it is his destiny to join an exclusive club of British fighters to have won their maiden world title on American soil.

The 29-year-old Londoner takes on fellow former Olympian Andre Dirrell of the USA in Boston on Saturday for the vacant IBF super-middleweight crown.

Dirrell’s solitary defeat in 25 professional outings came in 2009 via a disputed split decision verdict dropped to Carl Froch in Nottingham, but DeGale (20 wins, one defeat) heads into the contest in confident mood following commanding stoppage wins over Brandon Gonzalez and Marco Antonio Periban in his previous two bouts.

“It’s an exclusive club, but I’m very confident of doing it,” DeGale told World Boxing News.

“I believe in my ability and I believe it’s my time – I believe I’m destined to be a world champion.”

Within the past two years, DeGale’s compatriots Darren Barker and Kell Brook have ascended to the top of the world through famous Stateside triumphs.

But the gold standard for British breakthrough victories on the other side of the Atlantic remains Lloyd Honeyghan’s stunning six-round dissection of unified world welterweight champion Donald Curry in 1986.

DeGale’s long-time coach Jim McDonnell has made a point of sitting through Honeyghan’s finest hour with his charge, who is happy to take the inspiration on board.

“Jim always goes on about the Ragamuffin Man, Lloyd Honeyghan,” DeGale explained.

“He’s tried to drill that fight into my head because he says Lloyd Honeyghan went over there with a no-nonsense, destruct and destroy kind of attitude. He went over there and ripped the belt away from Don Curry.

“We’ve watched the fight together. As Jim said, he took a bit of Hackney with him over there. He had a lot of attitude and didn’t care what happened. He was just looking to win that world title.”

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