By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
JAMES DeGALE has finally KO'd the fear factor that he felt was hampering his progress through the professional ranks. He has had intensive treatment for a knee injury that has dogged him in recent fights and says he is now back to his best.
WBC silver super-middleweight belt holder DeGale, 27, meets American Dyah Davis at Glow, Bluewater, Kent, on November 16.
And, for once, the 2008 Olympic gold medallist will climb into the ring for the Channel 5 fight without worrying about his knee.
He said: "Self-confidence wise, I'm right up there, because I've been getting into the ring knowing that I wasn't 100 percent fit. "Believe me, it was quite a distraction for me when I was about to fight in my recent bouts.
"But now that kind of worry has gone. I'm going to show that, once and for all, my knee problem is behind me. It's great that I no longer have to worry about it."
"So now, knowing that I'm fully fit and I've got no injuries getting in there, I'm back to my old self - I'm back and full of confidence."
DeGale has won 16 of his 17 professional bouts, with his only defeat coming against George Groves in May 2011.
Now he is champing at the bit to make further headway up the ladder in his division and said: "It's time for me to make a statement.
"It's not about treading water.
"I want the big fights and I want the big names and I know they are ahead."
"I see Davis as a really good test and I want to get in there and put in a great performance for all the fans and do a good job on him."
Davis, 32, has lost just three times in 26 contests, most recently against the impressive Sakio Bika, who is the current WBO world super-middleweight champ.
"Chunky" DeGale said: "If I get in there and do it better than Bika, I think I will be making a statement. I want to go in there and put in a top performance."