DeGale weighs in ahead of title clash

James DeGale weighed in at 11st 13lb 8oz ahead of his European title showdown in Liverpool.

The Harlesden man takes on defending champion Piotr Wilczewski, who has lost only one of his 30 professional fights and was a fraction under the 12-stone super-middleweight limit.

Wilczewski, 33, has the WBO inter-continental belt as well as the European title, and the Pole is ranked two in the world by the WBO.

“It’s going to be a hard fight. The guy’s a good fighter and is coming for a fight, no doubt about it,” DeGale told West London Sport.

“I know he hasn’t come here to give up his title and that there’s pressure on me to produce a big performance, but I’m ready to go out there and prove the doubters wrong.”

It will be DeGale’s first outing since he lost his British title – and his unbeaten record – to arch-rival and fellow west Londoner George Groves on a majority-decision verdict in May.

The 25-year-old is convinced he should have been declared the winner of that bout, but a victory this weekend would put him in line for a rematchor even a world title shot.

Promoter Frank Warren wants DeGale to fight for a world titlle

DeGale said: “I want to get this European title and then move on to bigger and better things. The super-middleweight division is on fire at the moment and I want to be a part of it because I know I can mix it with the big boys.

“If Groves wants to fight me again after this, then great – bring it on. I still think I won that fight and don’t know how someone can win a title fighting on the back foot like that.

“But if he wants to run from me, I’ll just move on. This European title shot is a great chance for me to move on to a higher stage and I’m going to grab it with both hands.

“Win this fight and I’ll be ranked second in the world by the WBO and also in the top 10 of the other organisations. It’s a cracking opportunity and I’m going to make the most of it.”

DeGale’s ponderous start to the grudge match with Groves proved costly and he has pledged to be much more assertive at the Echo Arena on Saturday.

And his trainer Jim McDonnell, criticised by some after the Groves fight, believes his man will thrive on the pressure of knowing that he cannot afford to lose this weekend’s encounter.

“We’ve worked on cutting the ring down and I’ve been really pleased with James’ work,” said McDonnell, who also trains west London light-middleweight Steve O’Meara.

“He’s definitely learned from the Groves fight and I think that loss will be a blessing in disguise – the making of James, not the breaking.

“His sparring has been absolutely brilliant and it’s obvious he wants that European title badly. And come fight night, he’ll get it. I think he’ll produce his best performance yet.”