DeGale out to make history

Carl Froch’s decision to vacate his IBF super-middleweight belt means DeGale will become the first Briton to win Olympic gold and a professional world title if he is victorious at the O2 on April 25.

Negotiations are under way with American Andre Dirrell, whose only defeat in 25 fights came against Froch in Nottingham back in 2009.

And DeGale said: “It would mean everything – I’m a bit obsessed with it. I keep saying it’s time to make history – to be the first British Olympic gold medallist to win a world title is going to be special.”

The Londoner’s first world title shot comes with a slight tinge of regret that his opponent will not be Froch, who is currently injured and said he could yet fight DeGale later this year.

“I’d have loved to have boxed Carl Froch. It would have been a great fight for Britain and to beat a great champion like Carl – I’d have loved that. But Dirrell will have to do.

“Maybe (Froch) has dodged me a little bit. I’m the mandatory challenger for the world title and he’s chosen to vacate it, but I’m just focused on winning the world title.

“I don’t worry about Carl Froch – if that fight happens after I win the world title, then perfect.”

The possibility of a future fight with Froch is a real one, according to promoter Eddie Hearn, who told Sky Sports News HQ: “If the fight’s big enough I know Carl would welcome it. When James becomes world champion and beats Andre Dirrell, if that fight presents itself at Wembley then why not?”

Another option further down the line for DeGale could be a rematch with George Groves, his old amateur rival who inflicted his one defeat as a pro and is now mandatory challenger for the WBC title.

“That’d be massive, and I’m willing to fight him,” DeGale said. “I’m not too sure if he’s going to win the WBC title. If he does it’ll be a massive fight.”

The immediate priority is Dirrell – provided Hearn can persuade him to fight outside North America for just the second time.

“He hasn’t been that keen to come to the UK, but I’m confident,” Hearn said. “When it’s a 50-50 split, which is what’s been ordered by the IBF, it’s a lot easier to bring the fight over.”