James DeGale has vowed to ram Vepkhia Tchilaia's taunts back down his throat as he launches his professional career at Birmingham's NIA Arena on Saturday.
The Harlesden Olympic middleweight champion boxed several Eastern Euro- pean boxers during his amateur days and insists he will hit the ground running this weekend as he takes the first step en route to what he hopes will be a world crown inside four years.
Georgian hard man Tchilaia has already started the war of words, claim- ing DeGale 'lacks power' and has promised to put the gold medallist on the canvas.
"Of course I've seen DeGale boxing in the Olympics but I am not worried about him at all," said the 21-year-old, from Tbilisi. "He is very classy to win the Olympics but the professionals are totally different and he is going to get a bad start in his new career.
"He lacks any power and I don't think he can take a punch too well. I think I will win by knockout, maybe even early.
"I love a good fight - but I don't know if DeGale does. He spent most of the Olympic final running from that Cuban.
"If he runs from me it might make it a longer fight, but I'll catch up with him in the end and put him on his backside."
DeGale, however, scoffed at Tchilaia's bravado and is confident of knocking him out in a showman's performance that would go hand in hand with his like- able arrogance.
"Talk is cheap," he told the Observer this week.
"But I'll do mine in the ring. Nobody expected me to win a gold medal but I proved them wrong. I'm really looking forward to Saturday and I'm counting down the days, but I don't just want to win  I want to perform.
"I'm expected to perform and that is why I'm perhaps a bit nervous and apprehensive, but that will soon disappear.
"We will see how it goes but I plan on taking him (Tchilaia) out. If he makes just one mistake I'm not going to let him off."
Under the tutleage of task-master Jim McDonnell DeGale insists he is a much more refined boxer now with more power to boot.
"Training has been going fantastic," he added. "I've replaced all that fat I gained around Christmas with a nice little six pack.
"Jim has slowed me down a bit and getting me to punch slicker. We've worked a lot on top half movement and what punches to pick at the right moment.
"Preparation is confidence and the preparation could not have gone any bet- ter. Jim is known for being a fitness fanatic and the training has been unbe- lievable."
* DeGale is fighting on the undercard of Matt Skelton's European and Com- monwealth Heavyweight Championship clash with Martin Rogan.
He is joined by fellow Olympians Frankie Gavin and Billy Joe Saunders, who face Georgian George Kadaria and former Hungarian light-welterweight champion, Attila Molnar, respectively.