James DeGale on world title trail after becoming European champion

By Ben DirsBBC Sport, Liverpool
James DeGale
DeGale, right, secured a majority decision against Wilczewski

James DeGale could challenge for a world title within three fights after becoming European super-middleweight champion in Liverpool on Saturday.

His promoter Frank Warren said: "Hopefully after another couple we can get him into a world title fight."

DeGale's next fight could be a mandatory defence of his title against former world champion Cristian Sanavia.

Former Olympic champion DeGale lost his unbeaten professional record and British title against bitter foe Groves but showed plenty of heart in his first fight back.

Poland's Wilczewski had lost only once in 30 fights prior to Saturday and had DeGale in trouble on several occasions, especially in a turbulent fifth round, when it appeared the challenger might be stopped.

However, DeGale regrouped, although his tactics were mystifying at times as he chose to fight on the inside rather than boxing on the back foot.

"I had to dig deep in the last couple of rounds and sometimes I make things a bit hard for myself," said the 25-year-old, who now has 11 wins from 12 fights.

"All the doubters were out again and I'm glad I put on a good performance.

"My hearing went the fifth round and I felt weird [it was later revealed DeGale had torn an eardrum], but I got through it and in parts of the fight I looked good.

"I like a fight and I wanted to stand there and give it to him, and I did.

"My corner were telling me 'have a nice tight defence, box on the back foot, jab and it's easy work'. [Trainer] Jim [McDonnell] is constantly telling me I don't have to have a war, you can box, but I just love it.

"He was a solid, seasoned pro - tough, hard and he came to fight. People doubted my heart but I'm a European champion after coming off that silly defeat to 'Gorgeous' George."

Warren added: "You look at the guy he was fighting and he was ranked number two by the WBO, as well as being European champion.

"He has a wealth of experience, is strong and tough. We saw a lot of heart, James had to dig deep, and that's how he prevailed."