James DeGale is confident that he will be a world champion by the end of 2011 as he upped the ante in his war of words with bitter rival George Groves ahead of their super-middleweight showdown.
DeGale is putting his British title on the line to fight Commonwealth champion Groves on the undercard of Nathan Cleverly's world title clash with Jurgen Brahmer at the O2 on May 21.
The pair have shared a long-running rivalry which dates back to their amateur days at the Dale Youth Boxing Club when Groves outpointed DeGale in a 2006 bout - which still irks the Olympic champion.
DeGale went on to outshine Groves following the fight, and is favourite to beat the 23-year-old after he put in two impressive wins against Carl Dilks and Paul Smith recently, with the latter victory earning him the British belt in December.
DeGale only turned professional in 2009 but he is confident that he can end Groves' unbeaten record and then secure a world title shot before the year is out.
"The future is bright for me," DeGale told Press Association Sport.
"When I turned professional I said the plan for me was to become a world champion by the end of 2012 but with the rate that I'm going at right now it could be by the end of 2011."
Promotion and showmanship usually come hand in hand with boxing, but DeGale insists the animosity between he and Groves is real - and anyone who saw the explosive press conference that launched the fight earlier this month would find it hard to disagree.
Groves has vowed to use his rival's barbs as to motivate him for the fight but DeGale sees no reason why he should stop the war of words between the two and insists it will not harm his chances of success.
"I'll keep calling him ugly kid because that's what he is to me. He is ugly and he is a kid. It's a fact. It's reality," the 25-year-old added.
"This is fun to me. All the stuff at the press conference - the banter and winding him up - is all fun.
"It won't affect my performance against him."Tags: James DeGale , George Groves , DeGale vs Groves , DeGale-Groves