Published on 17 Sep 2021 2:00 pm (UK Time)
Chris Eubank Jr. emerged victorious on Saturday at the O2 Arena in London, earning a unanimous decision over former world champion James DeGale to reclaim the IBO super middleweight title.
DeGale vs. Eubank Jr. – Fight Recap
The first round saw Eubank Jr. patiently waiting and watching for openings to counter. DeGale began the fight carefully as well, but eventually started to employ a lunge-and-hold tactic (usually coming in with the left hand) that would continue throughout the fight. A clash of heads opened up a cut on the left side of DeGale’s head, though it did not seem to be much of a factor in the fight.
In Round 2, Eubank would land a nice left hand that seemed to momentarily stun DeGale, followed by another big left hand that sent DeGale to the ropes. Unable to adequately defend himself, DeGale touched the canvas and referee Michael Alexander ruled it a knockdown. DeGale would survive that first knockdown and have bits of success here and there landing quick shots and clinching (to avoid Eubank’s return fire), but ultimately it was Eubank Jr. who was landing the cleaner punches and winning the lion’s share of the rounds with his aggression and output.
Late in the tenth, DeGale was hurt by a huge left hand from Eubank and was eventually forced to go down again, getting back up just before the round ended. In Round 11, Eubank Jr. was deducted a point for throwing DeGale to the ground in frustration after the latter attempted what seemed to be the hundredth clinch of the fight. The bout would end with both men raising a hand in belief that they had won.
I scored the bout 117-108 for Chris Eubank Jr. He threw more, landed more, and was able to knock DeGale down twice. It was a clear, decisive victory. Official scores were closer than what I saw: 115-112, 114-112, and 117-109 for Eubank Jr.
Respect to James DeGale for taking some big shots and going the distance, but at the end of the day he was outclassed mentally and physically in the ring. It seemed quite evident from the get-go that DeGale was not there to fight. If he was going to win, it was going to be because of his wrestling ability more so than his boxing ability (though he did show some very good head movement in the fight). While Eubank’s power was on display from the beginning, DeGale was not able to do any real damage over the twelve rounds.
Following the fight, Eubank Jr. (28-2) said that he is willing to face whoever his promoter puts in front of him, whether it be at 160 or 168. Possible PBC opponents include IBF super middleweight champion Caleb Plant, middleweight contender Jermall Charlo, and newly crowned WBC super middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell, who won a narrow technical split decision over Avni Yildirim on Saturday.
A rematch with former WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders could also be a possibility. Saunders, who defeated Eubank by split decision back in 2014, fights for the vacant WBO super middleweight title against Shefat Isufi on April 13th.
Other Notable Fight Results
- Anthony Dirrell TD10 Avni Yildirim
- Lee Selby UD12 Omar Douglas
- Joe Joyce TKO6 Bermane Stiverne
- Humberto Soto UD12 Brandon Rios
I honestly believe DeGale would have been knocked out (or beaten even worse), if he would not have been allowed to excessively hold Eubank. Regardless, it was still a dominant performance for a fighter in Chris Eubank Jr. who had, until now, not lived up to his full potential. I am interested to see if Eubank can secure a world title shot for his next fight or if he will have to wait until later in the year.
Do you think Eubank Jr. can win a world title in 2019? How do you rate DeGale’s career compared to the other top British fighters of his era? Comment below with your opinion.