Olympic champion DeGale turns pro

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The Independent Online

Great Britain's Olympic boxing champion James DeGale has turned professional and signed up with promoter Frank Warren.

Warren has also signed DeGale's Olympic colleague Billy Joe Saunders, and Frankie Gavin, whose dream of Beijing gold was shattered when he failed to make his required weight.



The three former amateurs will make their professional debuts in 2009.

By turning professional, the trio become ineligible to compete at the London Olympics in 2012.

Warren believes all three can transfer their amateur performances to the professional ranks and go all the way to the top.



Warren said: "I'm delighted to have signed James, Frankie and Billy Joe, and I'm very excited about working with them in the future.



"I think they will all become world champions, and after their success as amateurs, the public is really going to get behind them and will want to watch their progress through the ranks."



Middleweight DeGale, now 22, won gold at the Olympics in August, with victory in the final against Cuban Emilio Correa.



Lightweight Gavin, as a world amateur champion, was also considered a strong Olympic medal prospect but failed to appear at the Games after being unable to drop enough weight. Now 23, he will be looking to make amends in the paid ranks.



Welterweight Saunders, 19, reached the second round in his division in Beijing.



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