DeGale se­cures points vic­tory over vet­eran Bute in Que­bec thriller

The Herald - Sport - - BOXING -

JAMES DEGALE came through his first ex­am­i­na­tion as IBF su­per­mid­dleweight cham­pion with a thrilling unan­i­mous decision vic­tory over Lu­cian Bute in Que­bec.

The 29-year-old DeGale won the ti­tle by beat­ing Andre Dir­rell on points in May and put the belt on the line against Bute, who was stopped by Carl Froch in 2012.

The bout at the Cen­tre Videotron got off to a blis­ter­ing start and the pace barely re­lented as both fight­ers en­joyed suc­cess with quick com­bi­na­tions.

The home crowd were get­ting right be­hind Ro­ma­nian-born Cana­dian Bute, who left DeGale with a cut above his left eye af­ter an ac­ci­den­tal head clash.

DeGale was forced back by his op­po­nent as the match wore on but his su­pe­rior foot­work and speed were enough to con­vince the judges to score the fight 116-112, 117-111, 117-111 in the Bri­ton’s favour.

“I said Lu­cian Bute is a world-class fighter,” said DeGale in the ring, mo­ments af­ter his win was an­nounced. “But I’m young, fresh and peak­ing now. I’m ready for the best in the world.

“All credit to Lu­cian Bute. He’s a great cham­pion and, be­lieve me, he will be back.”

Asked about a po­ten­tial uni­fi­ca­tion fight against WBC ti­tle holder Badou Jack, he added: “Let’s do it in Ve­gas next April.”

Bute has now lost three of his last five fights but the 35-year-old for­mer cham­pion of­fered enough to sug­gest he can still perform at the high­est level.

“It was a great fight and I did my best tonight,” he said.

“I think it was a close fight. He’s the Olympic cham­pion and world cham­pion and if the judges give him the decision I re­spect that.”

VIC­TORY: James DeGale said he’s now in peak form

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