DeGale wins British title!

12 12 2010

James DeGale stopped Paul Smith after 2mins of the ninth round at the Liverpool Echo Arena on Saturday night to become British Champion in only his 9th fight.

Looking slick and strong, DeGale outboxed the brave but limited home crowd favourite in a dominant display. From the moment, no more than 10 seconds in, he was warned for dragging his man on, the 24-year-old roughed it up as readily as he reeled off the combinations and from the fifth round onwards, he towered not tired.

Smith actually made the better start, catching his man with a nice left hook in the first as his come-forward approach worked well and made the most of any early nerves the challenger may have had. It took DeGale a while and a couple of warnings to find his range but when he did, he just got better as the fight went on.

Although he was ticked off again for holding and almost fell through the ropes leaping in in the fourth, the fight turned in his favour when Smith was cut. It came above his right eye, courtesy of a clash of heads and although not entirely deliberate, it shows DeGale can rough it when needed.

A low blow gave the champion a painful rest and earned more stern words from referee Howard Foster but the referee was soon jumping in to wave off the fight in the 9th as Smith toiled on the ropes. The champion was furious with the stoppage but DeGale had dominated the fight and was a deserved winner.

Fans can now look forward to the eagerly anticipated clash with old rival and mandatory challenger George Groves in the New Year.

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