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  1. ITV Report

James DeGale and Lee Haskins ready to strengthen world title claims

Lee Haskins and James DeGale talk to the media ahead of Saturday's big fights Photo: ITV News West Country

2008 Olympic gold medal winner James DeGale admits that he can't afford to slip up in Bristol on Saturday if he wants to get his hands on a professional world title.

Degale will be defending his WBC Silver Middleweight title against unbeaten former IBO Youth Champion Gevorg Khatchikian.

After an injury-hit last 18 months, DeGale is determined to prove his doubters wrong. Credit: ITV News West Country

It's an important year for me this year, 2014. I'm on the verge of a world title.

I win this one on Saturday, then I box in a final eliminator in May against Badou Jack, and then 90 days after that I box for the world title.

This is just a step towards that world title, and I want to win that world title, I want to make some history.

I want to be the first Olympic gold medallist to become a professional world champion.

– Boxer James DeGale

The Silver title is the final step before a chance to challenge for the full WBC World title, so DeGale knows this bout is an important stepping stone

British bantamweight champion, Lee Haskins, is in a similar position.

In front of his home town crowd, and on national terrestrial television, the Bristol fighter will face Ghanaian Cobina Johnson for the vacant WBC International Bantamweight title.

Lee Haskins knows he can't afford to take his little-know opponent lightly. Credit: ITV News West Country

Like DeGale, he's close to earning a shot at a world title and Haskins hopes that another victory will elevate him sufficiently in the world rankings.

I'm just really looking forward to getting in there.

I've worked really hard for this fight and it's just going to put me that bit closer to a world title shot, which people are denying me at the moment.

He's (Johnson) is not an opponent we know much about, so it's hard to study him. We just know his record - he's a last minute replacement. That does make him dangerous. This is the biggest opportunity of his life, so he's going to come here and try and win, but I've worked hard and am going to try and put a stop to that.

– Boxer Lee Haskins