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According to the Sunday People, British super-middleweight star James DeGale has begun talks to set up a clash with Mikkel Kessler in April.
The IBF ordered champion Carl Froch to begin negotiations with his mandatory challenger to agree on a title defence by the end of the month, but it appears as though the Cobra is inching closer to setting up an encounter against Julio Chavez Jr in Las Vegas.
As a result, he will have to vacate his IBF belt which leaves DeGale set to fight another contender in order to be crowned the first British Olympic gold-medallist to become a world champion.
The 28-year-old had been expected to announce a fight against either Andre Dirrell or Gilberto Ramirez, but it is understood that the American is not keen to fight in England again after losing to Froch last time he crossed the Atlantic.
Meanwhile, DeGale’s adviser Ambrose Mendy has previously revealed that Ramirez doesn’t think he is quite ready to take on the challenge and so that has opened a spot for another contender to emerge to face DeGale.
It is unclear as to how Kessler will fill the role after his last loss to Froch back in May 2013 as the 35-year-old Dane hasn’t fought since. Therefore, it is unlikely that the IBF would give him a shot at the title as he isn’t even ranked in the top 15 with the likes of George Groves, Rocky Fielding and Callum Smith above him.
As a result, there is a significant amount of doubt surrounding the report, as DeGale looks to continue his impressive form from 2014 into this year and take the last step to becoming a world champion in a division packed with talent.
It is understood that promoter Eddie Hearn has lined up April 25 and London’s O2 Arena as DeGale’s next outing, but his opponent has yet to be determined.