JAMES DeGALE regained the IBF super-middleweight title in Las Vegas, as he overcame a horrible cut and an unjust point deduction to defeat Caleb Truax via unanimous decision at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The scores after 12 rounds were 117-110, and two more realistic tallies of 114-113 in his favour.
James DeGale gained revenge, after losing a decision to Truax in an major upset in December, but did not fulfil promises to win at a canter, as he was forced to overcome another spirited, albeit ineffective, effort from Truax.
“I told you when I’m fit and injury free, people will find it hard to beat me,” James DeGale said afterwards. “I’m a two-time world champion.
“I showed some heart this time. In the first fight I wasn’t fit, I was like a little kid.”
Truax, who finished the fight with a cuts over each eye, said, “I thought I won the fight but I was pretty flat, I couldn’t get my shots off. But I thought I won. It is what it is, I guess.”
ROUND 1, 10-9 DeGale
DeGale darts to ring centre, he’s fluent and sharp, fires out jab, brings rights over the top. His head collides with Truax and the champion rolls back in pain. The former champion takes the fist session.
ROUND 2, 10-9 DeGale (20-18, DeGale)
Good work from DeGale again, his jab is tidy and right hand accurate. Another head clash occurs, again a consequence of DeGale putting his face down and steaming forwards. But DeGale’s work is sharp, and he lands regularly.
ROUND 3, 10-9 Truax (29-28, DeGale)
Much better from the champion, a right hand clouts the 2008 Olympic king, and he stumbles back. There’s a cut over DeGale’s right eye, as Truax – just like he did in the first fight – roars forward, putting the pressure on.
ROUND 4, 10-9 Truax (38-38)
A close round, but Truax’s pressure takes it from this viewpoint. The 34-year-old is cutting off the ring, making DeGale trade. It’s not pretty, but the champion is bossing the action.
ROUND 5, 10-9 Truax (48-47, Truax)
The Truax pressure remains, he tags DeGale at the end of the session and the 32-year-old stumbles back to the ropes. It’s close, though, and the Englishman is fighting back.
ROUND 6, 10-9 Truax (58-56 Truax)
DeGale’s promises to win convincingly not ringing true, not yet anyway. The champion’s pressure is being punctuated by his right hand, which clatters into the bloodied DeGale again.
ROUND 7, 10-9 DeGale (67-66 Truax)
Better from DeGale as he tries to control matters from centre ring. It’s a hard, gruelling, contest. The better work is coming from the former king whose jab is now superior. But another head clash – or butt – opens a cut on the champion’s right eye.
ROUND 8, 10-9 DeGale (76-76)
Another solid session from DeGale, he swipes to the body of Truax and hacks at his head. Truax getting caught regularly now, but he remains busy, jostling forward, albeit ineffectively.
ROUND 9, 10-9 DeGale (86-85, DeGale)
DeGale, again, appears to take a very untidy round. Truax plundering forward, finding the room, but not taking advantage. DeGale, with the occasional jab and right hand, doing just enough. Cries of ‘Chunky! Chunky!’ are heard for the first time.
ROUND 10, 9-9 (95-94 DeGale)
Nice body shot from DeGale, hurled while on the retreat, bounces off the champion. Truax is fit and plucky but his lack of finesse is being exposed. The referee, Robert Byrd, takes a point from DeGale for using his shoulder. Curious decision, perhaps he’s annoyed with himself that he didn’t once warn DeGale for his earlier head butts.
ROUND 11, 10-9 DeGale (105-103 DeGale)
DeGale in command, his shots to the body impressive and he scores with a right uppercut that rocks Truax back.
ROUND 12, 10-9 DeGale (115-112 DeGale)
The challenger full of energy, hacks at Truax with a three-punch combination. It’s not been pretty, but DeGale, while not exhibiting peak form, has shown he’s not quite finished yet.