Give DeGale respect

Image: McDonnell and DeGale: sharp

Trainer Jim McDonnell believes James DeGale will show Britain how good he is when he goes into the lion's den to face Paul Smith.

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Chunky ready to go and rip Smith's title away, says McDonnell

Trainer Jim McDonnell says James DeGale will earn British boxing's respect on Saturday night. The 24-year-old challenges British super-middleweight champion Paul Smith in his own backyard on Frank Warren's 30th anniversary bill in Liverpool. It will only be DeGale's ninth professional fight and many, including the champion, think his inexperience might be exposed in front of a capacity crowd at the Echo Arena. But McDonnell, who has been his trainer since he turned professional after winning gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, says his charge is ready to silence the cynics. "Respect to Paul Smith, but you've got to give James a lot of credit," he told Sky Sports News. "He's going into the lion's den in Liverpool in front of 11,500 Scousers - he's taking a lot on his shoulders. "For a young kid with only eight professional fights, you've got to give him a lot of kudos - for going into the lion's den to get what he wants. And he won't be denied." DeGale has trained solidly at McDonnell's Essex base for 10 weeks ahead of his big chance and says camp has never gone better. He is refusing to give a prediction as to when the fight will finish, but the man in his corner on Saturday night would not be at all surprised if it ends early - with his man as the new British champion. "You're going to see a switched-on James DeGale, you're going to see a very fast James DeGale and a sharp-punching James DeGale," he said. "He's knocking people out, simple as that."

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