James DeGale issued a warning to the world of super-middleweight boxing on Saturday night after his defeat of Stjepan Bozic moved him a step closer to a title shot.
The 27 year-old British fighter dominated the first four round's against his Croatian opponent and Bozic's corner pulled their man out of the contest before the start of the fifth round in Kent.
DeGale, who won Olympic gold in Beijing five years ago, retained his WBC silver belt and is now targeting either Mikkel Kessler or Andre Ward before a dream match-up with fellow Brit and IBF world champion Carl Froch.
"I'm in boxing for the big fights, I love the big shows," said DeGale to the BBC.
"Carl Froch is a fantastic fighter but everyone is making him out to be like The Terminator, who can't be beaten. But he has lost before and I think I'm all wrong for him."
DeGale has now won 16 of his 17 professional fights, with his only defeat coming when he lost on points to George Groves in May 2011.
But Londoner DeGale has now recorded six successive victories since then and was never troubled by 38-year-old Bozic, who beat Froch in the quarter-finals of the 2000 European Championships when the pair were amateurs.
Aided by some excellent body punches, DeGale was in control throughout, although the action was temporarily stopped in the third and fourth rounds when he landed low blows on his opponent.
Bozic did not appear to be badly hurt at the end of the fourth, but his corner saw enough to suggest that their fighter should be withdrawn.
"He could not take it any more," added DeGale. "I have boxed my last four fights with a knee injury, but my knee is perfect now. It was not a vintage performance, but it was nice and I'm pleased."
DeGale now has several options to pursue. Kessler, although recently beaten by Froch, is a tough and experienced fighter while undefeated American Ward, considered the best boxer in the division by Ring Magazine, is also an ambitious target.
A more realistic prospect could either be a rematch with Groves, or the winner of the clash between Australian Sakio Bika and Mexican Marco Antonio Periban, who fight for the vacant WBC world title in June.
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