James DeGale announces his retirement after ten years of service
Former IBF super middleweight champion James DeGale recently announced his retirement from the sport. He would go down in history as the first British boxer to win an Olympic gold medal and become a two-time world champion.
“It’s hard to admit I’m not the fighter I once was, but I’m human and along the way, my injuries have taken a toll. Both on my mind and body.”
These things plague every fighter at some point and the realization is hard especially being such an intense competitor.
DeGale (33), after a successful amateur career, the man they called “Chunky” would embark on a professional career that started out with tremendous potential. Capturing both the BBBoC and WBA international titles early in his career we’re good signs of bigger things to come.
However, in a rivalry fight with current retiree George Groves, he would suffer his first career loss. After this defeat, he responded with a ten-fight win streak that would include capturing the EBU and WBC silver titles.
The hard work would finally pay off with a chance to capture the IBF world title against Andre Dirrell in 2015. The British boxer would jump out to an early lead with two knock downs in the second round which lead to winning his first world title.
Now a world champion, DeGale reached the pinnacle of boxing while making two successful title defenses. What would follow, a unification bout with WBC champion Badou Jack.
It was in this fight things would change for the IBF champion that would lead to being hampered by injuries. Even though both men would score knock downs, DeGale suffered the most damage.
Furthermore, although the fight was ruled a draw, the damage he incurred put him on the shelf for the remainder of 2017. Upon his return, he would receive his second professional defeat and lose his title to journeyman Caleb Truax. This defeat had many pundits questioning if he returned to soon from the Jack bout. In addition, many believed this was the beginning of the end.
Nevertheless, Degale would recapture the IBF title in a grueling rematch. However,it seemed he understood the end may be near as he decided to relinquish the title citing he only wants the bigger match-ups. At that time, the IBF applied pressure on him to face dangerous mandatory Jose Uzcategui.
The decision paid off as it ultimately led to a high profile, domestic level bout with Eubank Jr.
The sunset on DeGale’s career is similar to many fighters looking for that last hooray before exiting the sport. However, there is something to be said about his level of commitment. The relationship and loyalty to his trainer Jim McDonnell from the beginning of his career until the end is very rare in the sport.
DeGale retires with a record of 25-3-1 with 15 knockouts in a ten year span! Not bad for a scrappy kid from Hammersmith, London.
3kingsboxing would like to wish the former champion the best with his future endeavors.
By: Garrisson Bland