DeGale decisions Dirrell to claim IBF title
James DeGale (21-1, 14 KOs) defeated Andre Dirrell (24-2, 16 KOs) by unanimous decision on Saturday to win the vacant IBF super middleweight title at the Agganis Arena in Boston, Massachusetts.
The British 2008 Olympic gold medallist scored two crucial knockdowns in the second round on the way to winning by a verdict of 114-112 twice and 117-109.
It was 12 close, gruelling rounds that saw the two southpaws box, attack and counter in equal measures.
DeGale started the fight as the aggressor and tagged Dirrell with hard shots. But the American 2004 Olympic silver medalist came back with some punches of his own in the second which cut DeGale over his right eye. However, DeGale soon took control and dropped Dirrell to the canvas with a huge left hook.
When Dirrell got back to his feet, DeGale pressed and floored him for a second time later in the round with a barrage of punches.
In the following rounds, DeGale continued to take control and was landing some solid lefts as Dirrell, who was bleeding from his mouth and nose, looked shaken defensively.
But Dirrell eased his way back into the fight, as DeGale faded in the second half, backing DeGale up to the ropes with clean left hands.
With the fight up for grabs entering the final two rounds, DeGale battled back and landed the harder punches to seal a close victory and become the first British Olympic boxing gold medallist to win a professional world title.
"I'm speechless. My whole career, what I have been building up to is winning a world title and I've finally done it," said DeGale. "I'm world champ. I made history as the first British Olympic gold medalist to be a world champion.
"He's a very good and skilled opponent. I knew I was in for a hard fight. I knew it. But I was ready. I used my speed and footwork. I'm back now. I'm injury free and I will take on any super middleweight in the world."