By Tom Degun

October 20 - James DeGale, the Bejing 2008 middleweight Olympic gold medalist, does not think Briton’s boxers will be as successful at the London 2012 Games as they were in the Chinese capital, he has told insidethegames.

DeGale, who in 2008 was under the tutelage of former British boxing coach Terry Edwards, led a hugely successful British team that eventually claimed three Olympic medals: one gold - won by DeGale - and two bronze.

But DeGale, who has now turned professional along with a host of former amateur other British boxers, believes the current crop of fighters will struggle to match their predecessors lofty achievements in front of a home crowd when boxing is set to be staged in the ExCel Arena in 2012.

DeGale said: "Heading into the Beijing 2008 Olympics, we had a really talented and tight-knit group.

"We had guys who were capable of beating anyone in the world such as Tony Jeffries, Billy Joe Saunders, myself and if Frankie Gavin had made the Olympics [Gavin was the 2007 world amateur champion but failed to make the weight for the Olympics in Beijing] we would have surely had another medal out in Beijing.

"But now, I’m not sure if we have the same level of talent across the board.

"We have got some really promising fighters such as Bradley Saunders and Luke Campbell who are definite prospects for 2012 but we don’t, at the moment, have the same number of realistic medal contenders that we had in 2008.

"I don't think this group is a tight-knit as we were heading into the 2008 Games and having that close bond with your teammates and travelling everywhere together is something that really helps you stay strong mentally.

"As it stands right now, I think we will win a medal at the London 2012 Olympics which is actually quite good but if you compare that to 2008 Games, it doesn’t look so impressive."

Britain's boxers failed to win a medal at the World Amateur Championships in Milan last month and DeGale believes a large reason that Briton could struggle to replicate their success at London 2012 is because of the departure of his former mentor Terry Edwards (pictured with DeGale), the former head coach of the Amateur Boxing Association of England (ABAE) who masterminded the most successful period in the history of British amateur boxing.

DeGale said: "I think it was a very bad decision to let a man with the Terry's credentials go.

"Terry is an unbelievable coach, one of the best in the business and without him, I'm not sure if I would have won gold out in Beijing.

"Terry has a proven track record of success and I have no doubt he would have gone on to produce more medals in London because he brings out the best in all his fighters.

"He is a big loss the British amateur boxing set-up but like I said, we definitely have guys with undoubted potential to do the business at London 2012."

And the likable Londoner stated that while he would have relished going for a second Olympic gold in his home city, he does not regret his decision to turn professional.

He said: "I would have loved to have boxed at the London 2012 Olympics.

"It will be a once in a lifetime experience and the buzz the athletes will get from fighting in front of a home crowd will be unbelievable.

"But I have wanted to turn professional since I was a little boy and the lure to do so was too great.

"I had already achieved the pinnacle of the sport at amateur level [by winning Olympic gold] so there wasn't really anything left for me to achieve there.

"I am relishing the new challenge of being a professional boxer and while I would be lying if I said I didn't want to compete in the London Olympics, I'm very happy with my decision and really excited about what the future has in store for me." Contact the writer of this story at [email protected].

Related stories
September 2009: Hickey quits as performance director of British Boxing
September 2009: McGuigan backs Britain's boxers to come good at London 2012
September 2009: Former regime to blame for British failure claims new coach
September 2009: Britain return home from Milan with nothing but medal for Irish