James DeGale has regained his IBF world super-middleweight title with a unanimous points victory over Caleb Truax in Las Vegas.
The 32-year-old suffered a shock points defeat to American Truax at London’s Copper Box Arena last December and was again taken the distance in a battling display at the Hard Rock Hotel.
The Londoner, about 5lbs lighter than Truax, showed much better movement than four months ago, but still found himself on the ropes early on after taking a blow from Truax’s right hand.
A clash of heads in the third round saw DeGale draw blood near his right eye and left him struggling to mount any counter-attack to Truax’s come-forward approach.
By round eight, Truax had suffered a cut of his own above his left eye and both men tried to get their jabs going, DeGale often finding his mark.
Truax continued to apply the pressure and things looked to be going against DeGale when he was deducted a point in round 10 for using his shoulder.
It did not hold him back in round 11, though, and DeGale produced his most effective shots, landing a three-punch combination to leave Truax unsteady and with too much to do going into the final round.
The 2008 Olympic champion, whose loss last year was the second of his professional career, edged the win, with the judges scoring it 117-110, 114-113 and 114-113 in his favour.
Speaking after the bout, he said in quotes reported by the Mirror: “Full credit to Caleb Truax, he’s tough and he’s game, but when I’m fit and injury free people will find it hard to beat me.
“I’ve got my title back, I’m a proud IBF champion and I’m back.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
Manny Pacquiao said Tuesday he “can’t wait” for a crack at another world title as Lucas Matthysse’s promoter confirmed the Argentine will stake his belt against the Filipino in Kuala Lumpur in July.
Promoter Oscar De La Hoya announced on Twitter in the US that the contest was now confirmed.
“Signed, sealed, and delivered: Proud to officially announce that WBA welterweight world champion @MatthysseLucas will put his title on the line against @mannypacquiao in Kuala Lumpur, Malyasia on Saturday night July 14 (US time),” De La Hoya said Monday.
Pacquiao then went onto his on his Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts to respond.
“It’s on! Can’t wait to challenge Lucas Matthysse for another world title on July 15 in Kuala Lumpur, Malyasia – July 14 US time,” said Pacquiao.
Both announcements misspelled Malaysia.
The De La Hoya announcement appeared to clear lingering doubts about the contest taking place since the Filipino icon, winner of an unprecedented eight world titles in different weight divisions, first announced the contest last month.
Pacquiao, 39, had said the fight against Matthysse would take place on June 24.
Pacquiao, an elected senator in the Philippines, has not fought in the ring since being defeated on points by Australia’s Jeff Horn in Brisbane last July, a loss that cost the Filipino star his World Boxing Organisation crown.
The 35-year-old Matthysse, who has 39 wins including 36 by knockout against four defeats, won the vacant World Boxing Association belt after beating Thailand’s Teerachai Sithmorseng in January.
“This is going to be a tough fight. Matthysse is also a knockout artist,” Pacquiao had said last month.
“I’m the underdog in this fight but I’m used to it. It serves as a big motivation for me to train and fight hard to win the crown.
Pacquiao has 59 wins to his name including 38 KOs against seven defeats and two draws. His last victory inside the distance was back in 2009.
Meanwhile the Pacquiao camp announced on Tuesday that Wednesday’s joint press conference with De La Hoya and Matthysse in Manila to announce the fight had been moved back a week, tentatively to April 11. No venue has been set.
Depending on the corner you reside in, Anthony Joshua was either tactically astute, displaying fine adroitness behind a stiff jab or was skillfully limited with his offensive output neutralised by an awkward Joseph Parker.
In reality, assessments lie somewhere in the middle but as is often the way with modern society, it had to be one or the other.
Truth is, Joshua showed defects for improvement but also a refinement in some of the fundamentals which have looked a little substandard in recent bouts.
His footwork was much slicker and of course his cardio – despite a little dip in the middle rounds – was mostly excellent as he came on strong in the final frames of his first full quota rounds.
It was a performance hallmarked by maturity, a new side to the Joshua who swept up his WBA and IBF titles with KOs – the boxer not slugger.
Indeed, if you take out the spectacle (for a pugilist who insists he’s not about “the hype” the grandiose entrance said differently) and focus purely on the boxing performance, there was much to be delighted with from a Joshua perspective.
The same cannot be said of the referee, of course, and we can all agree Giuseppe Quartarone was incompetent at best and a liability at worst.
Neither Joshua or Parker could hope to build any sort of momentum with the Italian constantly cutting in whenever the fight pulled onto the inside.
Quartarone was a wet blanket, smothering the swelling flames as if it were an amateur bout.
And he can’t be accused of bias either because he choked out the offence of both fighters – when Parker landed in close, he split it up immediately and the case was the same for Joshua as he attempted to uncork his signature uppercut.
It seemed the occasion was too big for unheralded referee but that can’t be said of Parker.
Granite chinned with a good gameplan to elude a lot of the power punches, the relinquished WBO champ showed tremendous heart and the unanimous decision was much closer than one judge’s dubious 119-109 scorecard.
Granted, the challenger didn’t do enough for victory, fighting permanently on the backfoot with the 26-year-old seemingly holding hope Joshua would gas out but he was quick and awkward.
As the last undisputed heavyweight Lennox Lewis correctly observed, though, “A good big ‘un will always beat a good little ‘un”.
I thought AJ fought a great fight. I kno fans want blood but sometimes it just not there. AJ kept proper distance 2keep JP at end of jap but out or range of JP’s jab. JP’s hands were faster than i thought but his game plan was too one dimensional. Good big un beats a good lil un!— Lennox Lewis (@LennoxLewis) March 31, 2018
Joshua’s imposing size and reach advantage was ultimately the difference between the two men and while he was far from polished, he was certainly professional.
Ending his stoppage streak at 20 is actually a good thing for his development, too. The unnecessary pressure to knock someone out has been alleviated and it gives AJ the breathing room to learn the more disciplined side of the ‘Sweet Science’.
In the build-up, Joshua talked of lessons learned from the Wladimir Klitschko fight.
“I have learned I shouldn’t use camp to get fit. I have used this training camp to work solely on my technique and ability rather than to get fit,” he explained.
He took something from the Ukranian for this fight, adding another tactic to win defensively behind the jab in true Klitschko style.
Joshua can bang and win, and he can defend and win as well. With a third premier belt around his waist, he has tightened his grip on the heavyweight division, only the WBC strap of Deontay Wilder remains to cement undisputed status.
Introducing you 2 the sweet science of boxing 🔥 Hit & don't get hit 🔥 pic.twitter.com/BbhqSwoxef— Anthony Joshua (@anthonyfjoshua) April 1, 2018
But despite Joshua’s improvement, there are still holes in his game to exploit, like retreating with a loose guard, and the ‘Bronze Bomber’ will hardly be approaching any potential bout with trepidation as Carl Froch in his role as analyst for Sky Sports assessed.
“I don’t think he will be concerned about that performance, he won’t be worried,” the former super-middleweight king said post fight.
“When AJ says ‘I will knock you spark out’, I don’t think Wilder believes him, because what you saw there does not send that message – he did what he had to do to win.”
Ultimately, there wasn’t a mark on Joshua’s face and the aim of the game is to hit and not get hit.
The 28-year-old was good and bad, not good or bad. There is more to come from the unified heavyweight champ.