James DeGale has revealed the secret behind his slick skills in the ring may be a brief spell of childhood ballet training.
The Londoner's amateur career culminated in a middleweight gold medal at last year's Beijing Olympics before he embarked on a professional career which has seen him win all four of his fights so far.
The 23 -year-old Hammersmith fighter closes a successful 2009 with his fifth paid fight against Nathan King in Newcastle on Saturday delighted with his progress since signing with promoter Frank Warren a year ago.
However, he revealed it could have been very different for him had he chosen the stage rather than the boxing ring.
He said: “I left school in Year Nine but in Year Seven and part of Year Eight (aged 11-12) I went to Barbara Speake stage school and did all different kinds of dance and acting. But I half grew out of that and boxing took over.
“But yes, I did bits and pieces. I didn't really enjoy the ballet, to be honest, I always forgot my ballet shoes and got detention! But apart from that it was all right.
“It most definitely helped with the footwork for my boxing though. When you see me as an amateur, my footwork is unbelievable. Dancing definitely helped me with that. It was a bit of a weird mix, imagine me doing ballet and boxing!”
DeGale will again be joined by fellow rookies Frankie Gavin and Billy Joe Saunders on the undercard of Amir Khan's first world title defence at the Metro Radio Arena on Tyneside this weekend.