DeGale breezes into semis to ensure another medal

Middleweight James DeGale breezed into the boxing semi-finals tonight to become the third Briton to be guaranteed a bronze medal. But he knows there is a storm lying ahead.

For after a scintillating display of hit-hop boxing in his 8-3 points defeat of hard man Bakhtiyar Artayev of Kazakhstan, the 2004 Olympic welterweight champion, now faces his bete noire, Irishman Darren Sutherland who overwhelmed Venezuelan Alfonso Blanco 11-1. They have fought five times and Sutherland leads 4-1.

But the 22-year-old Londoner is unfazed at the prospect. “On my form here I can beat anyone," he said. “We’ve had some close fights and this time I’ll use my brain. I’ve got too many skills for him. If I have to hit and run, that’s what I’ll do. Hit, hit, hop, hit, run. That’s what amateur boxing’s about. I don’t care if people back home think its boring.”

However his performance against the man who had earlier removed the seemingly unbeatable Russian world champion, was certainly not dull. One of the best fight nights of his life DeGale, aka “Chunky”, dominated from the first scoring punch, a long left hook, giving a controlled display of back-foot counterpunching and frustrating Artayev’s efforts to close in on him. “Its about tactics and me and Terry (coach Terry Edwards) got them off perfect. A bronze medal man, I’m in the history books!”

The tall and rangy DeGale whose speciality is the now rarely seen underarm bolo, is a southpaw switch-hitter and the most telegenic of the squad. His nickname lingers from his schooldays. "When I was ten I weighed about 45kg. I was chubby and fat and just went in there and had a tear-up. The name has stayed with me but luckily the weight hasn't, thanks to a lot of hard training." He won a national schoolboy title at light-heavyweight, weighing a stone more than he is now. DeGale, who believes his name has French origins (his British- born father has Grenadan ancestry and his mother is English) has had a tendency to fade on the big occasion. But not tonight.

Britain and Ireland are now assured of three bronze medals apiece and DeGale joins super-heavyweight David Price and light-heavy Tony Jeffries in tomorrow's semis. Three medals is both relief and redemption for Edwards after his team’s chequered tournament, and there are genuine hopes that perhaps two can be translated into gold, which would bring Britain ‘s greatest Olympic ring success in over half a century.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
President Obama, one of the more enthusiastic users of the fist bump
science
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
tv
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
News
Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders were pictured embracing in 2012
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried