Super middleweight contenders James DeGale and Badou Jack are supposed to meet in a title elimination bout for the right to become the mandatory challenger to world titleholder Sakio Bika.
However, since the deal between the camps has not been made, DeGale (17-1, 11 KOs), 28, is going to fight an interim bout March 1 in Bristol, England.
His opponent for the scheduled 12-round fight will be Gevorg Khatchikian, promoter Mick Hennessy announced Monday. The fight will be televised in the United Kingdom on Channel 5.
“I'm looking forward to it,” said DeGale, a 2008 Olympic gold medalist. “You're going to see a lot more power, a lot more spite -- an aggressive me -- and you'll see a good finish. [Khatchikian is] in trouble, trust me."
The fight with Khatchikian (20-0, 8 KOs), 25, of the Netherlands, should be DeGale’s last bout before meeting Jack (16-0-1, 11 KOs).
Hennessy said he hoped to make a deal with Jack promoter Leonard Ellerbe of Mayweather Promotions in order to stage the bout on March 1 in England, but Ellerbe said they were not interested in going to England for the fight. If they don’t make a deal, a purse bid is supposed to take place March 14 -- unless DeGale loses March 1, in which case he would probably be removed from the eliminator.
Even though the Jack fight looms, DeGale said he is not looking past Khatchikian, who has a sterling record but one built against extremely low-level opposition.
"I'm not looking too far past him,” DeGale said. “He's unbeaten, he's ambitious, and he's coming to win. I've had a look at him on YouTube, and he's tough, he's game, he likes to have a fight, he's kind of fast. But the way I'm feeling now, I'm going to look to put on a wicked performance and prove that I am world class and I'm ready to box for the world title and win the world title."