Errant teen to world ruler: The James DeGale story

James DeGale
Action Images/Alan Walter
James DeGale tells Danny Flexen about his life in a six-page exclusive feature

JAMES DeGALE invited Danny Flexen into his Harlesden home for a feature in this week’s issue of Boxing News.

IT was called Heart of Harlesden and ran for eight episodes back in 2001. I recall, as a 19-year-old, becoming increasingly consumed by the trials and tribulations of people living in a London borough I had never heard of let alone visited. Prompted by the alarming number of gang-related murders that had been committed in the area the previous year – 11 – the BBC commissioned a documentary that, while suitably urban and gritty, focused on the dreams, struggles and accomplishments of Harlesden’s ‘strivers’ – long before David Cameron appropriated that phrase. These were the embryonic days of reality TV; there was no script, no guaranteed happy ending.
James DeGale turned 15 a few weeks before the show premiered, but it’s unlikely he watched the series, despite residing in the borough where it was filmed and his life at the time mirroring many of the project’s core themes. DeGale had been kicked out of school over a year before, the teachers unable to harness his misguided energy and the teenager himself steadfastly unwilling to focus on his education. When he was not being tutored at home,
DeGale wasted time and endangered his early boxing promise by smoking, maintaining dubious friendships and eschewing the gym…


Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

This form collects your name, email and comment so that we can keep track of the comments placed on the website. Your name, as entered will appear on the site with your comment, your email will not be published. For more info about posting comments please see our terms of use and for info on why and how we process your data see our privacy policy.

Boxing news – Newsletter

Current Issue