DeGale to continue reputation rehab with Sanavia knockout

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James DeGale is set to defend his European super-middleweight title against Cristian Sanavia on Saturday, with the Englishman odds-on at 1/10 to retain his championship.

Sanavia is competing for his first major title since he was dispossessed of this belt back in 2004, and his lengthy 6/1 odds for victory suggest he will struggle to scale those heights again via a win here.

It is 33/1 about the draw, but DeGale’s hardened attitude since suffering his first professional loss last year makes this seem an even more far-fetched outcome.

Indeed, the former Olympic gold medalist’s reputation has taken a battering, and with his ego bruised in the aftermath to that narrow defeat to George Groves, the Nottingham-born fighter is keen to re-assert his dominance on the middleweight division with a knockout triumph on Saturday.

He claimed a majority decision success over Piotr Wilczewski to take the title in October of last year, though the impressive nature of this victory has not waivered the confidence of his 37-year-old challenger, who believes his experience will stand him in good stead.

“He had a great amateur career but has never been in the ring with someone as experienced as me,” Sanavia told BBC Sport.

Whilst the Italian is undoubtedly vastly more experienced in a professional environment, DeGale has achieved an impressive eight knockout successes from just 11 pro fights, and Sanavia could become his next victim.

DeGale is an 8/15 chance to win by TKO or disqualification and this certainly deserves attention, as he looks to make his advantage in the speed and power departments count.

It is worth noting that Sanavia lasted until the 12th round before eventually succumbing to a knockout loss in his last professional defeat, and as this looks his last real chance to prove he deserves to mix with the elite, he looks set to put up a big fight again.

With that in mind, the 13/2 odds for DeGale to triumph in rounds 10-12 are appealing, whilst braver punters may take advantage of the 20/1 odds for the Englishman to knock Sanavia out in the 12th and final round.

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