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Froch vs Groves II: Brandon Gonzales aiming for breakout win against James DeGale

Brandon Gonzales wants to win his first world title this year, but will have to get past James DeGale in an IBF 168-pound eliminator bout on May 31.

Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Brandon Gonzales is looking to become the second Virgil Hunter-made world champion, and his journey will start on May 31, when he faces James DeGale in an IBF super middleweight eliminator on the Froch-Groves II card in London at Wembley Stadium.

Gonzales told FightHype that he's got a game plan as well as some expectation of how DeGale will fight, and that he knows this is his biggest fight as a professional:

"I'm anticipating a very strategic approach from DeGale, but that won't matter because I'm going to be dictating the pace and setting the tone. He's accomplished, winning an Olympic gold medal, so we know he has great boxing skills that got him to this point in the pros. ... This is the biggest fight of my career. A win puts me in the mandatory position with the IBF. I know if I come out on top, I'll most likely be fighting the winner of Froch vs Groves. ... My dream of becoming a world champion is so close I can taste it."

Gonzales (18-0-1, 10 KO) will be the underdog on the road against DeGale (18-1, 12 KO), as the British fighter makes his debut for Matchroom Boxing after stints with Frank Warren and Hennessy Sports. Gonzales last fought in November 2013, beating Jonathan Nelson via 10-round decision, about four and a half months after an HBO-televised draw with Thomas Oosthuizen.

DeGale last fought on March 1, beating Gevorg Khatchikian, part of a highly disappointing run with Hennessy, where he failed to really advance his career, as quality opponents just did not come his way, leading some on his team to feel that DeGale had stagnated without real challenges.

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