DeGale defeats Dirrell, captures vacant IBF 168lb title

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By Jim Dower: #1 IBF James DeGale (21-1, 14 KOs) defeated #2 IBF Andre Dirrell (24-2, 16 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision on Saturday to win the vacant IBF super middleweight title at the Agganis Arena in Boston, Massachusetts. DeGale didn’t look that great in the 1st round, but he came on strong in the 2nd to drop Dirrell twice in the round with big hooks.

After controlling the fight through the 5th, DeGale faded in the second half of the fight and appeared to win only the 11th in the 2nd half of the fight. The judges scored the fight 114-112, 117-109, and 114-112 for DeGale. Dirrell appeared to win seven rounds in controlling the 1st, 6th though 10 and the 12th. The two knockdowns that DeGale scored in the 2nd round saved him because he really faded badly after the 5th.

DeGale was bruised around his right eye from Dirrell’s big left hand shots. Dirrell wound up with a bloody nose.


In undercard action, light heavyweight Edwin Rodriguez (27-1, 18 KOs) defeated previously unbeaten Craig Baker (16-1, 12 KOs) by a controversial 3rd round stoppage. Referee Robert Benoit halted the fight with Baker taking punishment in the corner. Baker looked like he was fine at the time of the stoppage. The referee seemed to be acting out of concern for Baker, who was just taking shots and not returning fire at that point in the fight. Baker showed a great chin, but he didn’t have the offensive firepower to match the constant incoming from Rodriguez.

For Rodriguez, this was his third straight win since his 12 round decision loss to WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward in 2013. Rodriguez moved up in weight to light heavyweight after that fight due to his problems making the 168lb limit. He looked really good tonight, and would be a problem for anyone in the division.

Rodriguez needs to fight more frequently because he’s not fighting enough for him to get a title shot in the 175 pound division. He’s got the ability to be a champion, but he just needs to fight often enough to get ranked.

Other boxing results on the card:

Gary O’Sullivan KO 2 Melvin Betancourt
Ryan Kielczewski KO 1 Anthony Napunyi
Logan McGuinness UD 6 Gerardo Cuevas
Antonio Russell TKO 1 Brandon Ali Garvin
Edwin Espinal UD 4 Alvaro Enriquez
Immanuwel Aleem TKO 1 David Toribio

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