IBF 168 lb champion, James DeGale, has restated his intention to press on with plans for a unification fight with WBC belt holder, Badou Jack, in the wake of the Londoner’s hard-fought points victory of veteran former champion, Lucian Bute at the weekend.
After a fast start to the fight, ‘Chunky’ had to battle through an aggressive and gutsy showing from a seemingly reinvigorated Bute, who at 35, showed he isn’t a spent force just yet, with the Brit eventually taking the fight over the stretch by UD scores of 117-111 (x2) and 116-112 that were perhaps a little wide for some observers.
“I am peaking now,” DeGale said. “I don’t want to waste any time, so in the next three and four years I want the big fights. I go to Jamaica on a family holiday on December 28, but when I get back, I am right back on it and I would like to be back out in April.
Speaking about Saturday’s performance, which was screened by Showtime in the US, DeGale was rightly proud of the shift he put in against the Romanian/Canadian fighter, although was forced to concede that his prediction of ending matters early did not come true.
“I think I put on a good performance. I made it a competitive fight, a good exciting fight. It’s all down to me. I could have been boring and moved and boxed him, I am at my best when I am in the pocket, ducking and throwing shots through the middle.
“I didn’t take any risks, I was just flowing. I cruised through some of the middle rounds and I have to stop that, but it was a good fight to watch and I think people enjoyed it, that’s the main thing.
“I never overlooked Lucian. I knew he was going to be good but I am just confident in my ability and I knew I was going to beat him. He’s brave, he showed heart and he dug in. He’s a great fighter, he had nine world title defences, you have to recognise that he’s an elite level guy, and you have to give me credit for dealing with him comfortably.”
DeGale is also keen to learn from the experience of again boxing away from home, having beaten Andre Dirrell in Boston to win the vacant title before this excursion to Canada, stating his plans to do it all again with a Badou Jack fight in the Swede’s adopted Las Vegas hometown next year.
It’s a fight he intends to press advisor Al Haymon for more aggressively, seeing as the elusive PBC brainchild has options over both men.
“[Bute was] a good 12 rounds against a top level opponent and I am only going to get better. I’ve beaten two elite fighters in my last two fights, and I’ve gone overseas to do it, and I want to do it all again by going to Las Vegas and unifying titles against Badou Jack.”