Saturday 9th December – Copperbox Review – by Iain Dolan
James Degale will need to have a long look in the mirror before deciding on his next move after he lost is IBF Super Middleweight world title to heavy underdog Caleb Truax at the Copperbox on Saturday night. Degale started the first round comfortably enough but from the second onwards, Truax consistently walked his man down with Degale offering little in return. Degale was marked up from the 3rd and although the crowd cheered his sporadic successes it became apparent but the middle rounds that Degale might just not be able to turn the tide. Truax backed Degale up to the ropes or into the corner far too easily and although never really hurting the former Olympic champion, he was always landing more and putting rounds in the bank. Degale did occasionally spin off the ropes and land eye catching counters, roared on by a home crown starved of success in this fight, but they were too infrequent.
There were moments in the championship rounds where it appeared that Truax might be tiring and maybe offering a way back into the fight for Degale but he failed to capitalise. The respective demeanours of the fighters at the final bell told a story. Degale sloped back to his corner, arms by his sides and Truax sank to his knees in celebration with his entire corner leaping around the ring in delight. In the press section the verdict was unanimous and some notable journalists voiced their disgust at the 114-114 a scorecard handed in by Dave Parris, but fortunately the other two judges submitted cards of 115-112 and 116-112. I felt this was still generous to Degale but at least Truax was awarded the decision he deserved, not always guaranteed away from home against a high profile fighter.
Lee Selby suffered no such difficulties with his routine defence of the IBF belt, winning a wide UD against game but outclassed Mexican Eduardo Ramirez at Featherweight. Selby’s timing was a bit off in the first couple of rounds but he settled into a rhythm by the third and was regularly beating Ramirez to the punch from that point on. Selby’s timing and movement was superb for the most part and aside from shipping a big left hand in the 9th, won at a canter. It seems that next up with be Josh Warrington in Leeds and despite the undoubtedly hostile reception, It’s hard to see past another Selby UD victory.
There was plenty for the fans who like to see knock outs at their boxing events as Anthony Yarde turned in an impressive performance to stop the very brave Nicola Sjekloca in the fourth round of their Light Heavyweight contest. Yarde’s attacks seemed a lot more fluid than last time out and he created opportunities rather than just throwing leather aimlessly. Sjekloca tried to meet fire with fire and was decked by a right uppercut for his trouble. He rose and fought back bravely but Yarde’s impressive arsenal was far too much. A two fisted barrage floored Sjecloca in the fourth before two big right uppercuts caused the referee to step in with a timely stoppage. Yarde is progressing nicely, is good to watch and building a fan base with his exciting style. He’ll need to concentrate a bit more on defence as he steps up his level of opposition, particularly if he goes up in weight, but none other than Colin Hart rates him as potentially the UK’s best light heavy since Conteh so it’s easy to see why the hype is there.
Another hype train beginning to build up a head of steam is the one carrying Dynamite Daniel Dubois. The touted heavyweight dispatched Dorian Darch in the second round. Dubois showed patience and a decent jab and floored Darch at the end of the opening session with a cumulation of right hands. Darch emerged for the second round and stood in the pocket attempting to meet fire with fire. That was only going to end one way and a left hook sent Darch to the canvas before further knock downs from two big straight rights, the latter of which caused the referee to call a halt. Dubois has yet to have a chin check or gut check but his power will trouble any heavyweight out there if he gets to land clean on them.
Earlier on in the evening Brentwood’s Joe Mullender outmuscled and eventually stopped a very tenacious Lee Churcher in the 11th round at middleweight. Churcher was down four times in the fight with a knockdown being ruled a slip and a slip being ruled a knockdown and also damaged his knee in the seventh but showed a big heart before finally being saved from himself in the 11th.
Welling super featherweight Archie Sharp continued his progress with a comfortable decision victory over Rafael Castillio. The 5’ 9” prospect will surely be looking to step up the level of competition in 2018.