James DeGale (22-1, 14 KOs) retained his IBF super-middleweight title with a unanimous points decision over the former champion Lucian Bute (32-3, 25 KOs) in Quebec City on Saturday night.
DeGale dominated the first three rounds but as the fight progressed Bute imposed himself on the champion, at times backing DeGale up. The champion suffered a nasty cut in the fifth as a result of a clash of heads but he maintained his composure to secure the decision.
The fight was fought at close quarters, with both fighters swapping hooks and uppercuts as the fight was contested at a furious pace. DeGale dominated the early rounds, with his speed and aggression, but Bute, who had not looked impressive since his stoppage loss to Carl Froch in 2011, certainly enhanced his reputation in this fight.
During the middle rounds the champion covered up and allowed Bute to land eye catching punches. The Romanian born Canadian landed some solid uppercuts in both the seventh and eighth rounds.
It proved a dangerous tactic for DeGale to use while defending his title in his opponents adopted home town.
DeGale’s dominance in the early rounds was enough to see off despite a strong showing by Bute in the closing stanza.
Ultimately, the judges scored the fight 116-112, 117-111 and 117-111 in favour of the champion.
In the post-fight interview DeGale was asked about a potential unification bout with the WBC champion Badou Jack, who defeated DeGale’s former rival George Groves in May, and he replied, “Let’s do it in Vegas next April.”