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DeGale floors Dirrell twice, wins IBF world title

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By John J. Raspanti


James DeGale (21-1, 14 KOs) became the first British Olympic gold medalist to capture a world championship by winning a 12 round unanimous decision over Andre Dirrell (24-2, 16 KOs) Saturday afternoon at the Agganis Arena in Boston, Massachusetts.

The scores were 114-112 (twice) and 117-109 for the new champion.

Maxboxing.com and Doghouseboxing also had DeGale winning the fight by a 114-112 tally.

Both southpaws showed caution in the opening stanza. Dirrell landed a sharp left uppercut that knocked DeGale back a step. DeGale did some good work on the inside.


In round two, DeGale, 29, found paydirt with a sharp inside hook. Dirrell fired back with a combination that opened a cut over the right eye of DeGale. Seconds later a left landed. Things appeared to be going Dirrell’s way until an overhand left sent the Michigan fighter crashing to the canvas. He got up on shaky legs and tried to hold on. DeGale jumped on his weakened adversary and attempted to end the show. A combination of blows drove Dirrell to the floor for a second time. He hauled himself up and held on till the bell sounded.

In round three, Dirrell, 31, tried to box to clear his head. He found success by getting off first with combinations. DeGale landed two big overhand lefts that shook Dirrell to his heals.

In rounds four and five, DeGale continued to be the busier fighter. A snappy one-two landed. Dirrell used distance to box well at times. DeGale was loading up a bit too much, but another long overhand left connected.

DeGale connected with stinging blows in round six that bloodied Dirrell’s nose. Dirrell wanted to attack, but it was DeGale who was controlling the fight.

With blood all over his face, Dirrell began to rally in round seven. He pushed DeGale into the ropes and unloaded. DeGale did a good job of blocking most of the punches, but Dirrell did land some shots.

In round eight, both fighters traded good punches. Dirrell upped his volume. DeGale moved around the ring, but didn’t punch much. Dirrell landed a snapping left hand.

Dirrell had taken away the play of the fight. Could he continue to win rounds? He kept working in rounds nine and 10. DeGale wanted to counter, but wasn’t letting his hands go.

With two rounds to go, the fight appeared pretty close. DeGale circled to his left and right looking to counter. Dirrell was in full stalk mode. A long left found DeGale. The British boxer jumped in close and flurried. Dirrell looked surprised. DeGale repeated the feat a moment later to take the round.

DeGale bounced around the ring and worked off his back foot in round 12. Dirrell needed to make something happen. He looked to uncoil, but wasn’t punching enough. DeGale countered and stayed out of danger.

“I’m speechless,” said DeGale in the ring. “I’m a world champ. The first Olympic gold medalist to win a title.”


- TO WRITE FOR DOGHOUSE BOXING: E-mail John now at: marlow_58@hotmail.com
John J. Raspanti responds to all his emails. Please send all questions and comments to John at: marlow_58@hotmail.com


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