Those in attendance at the Copperbox Arena were left stunned tonight, after witnessing perhaps the biggest boxing upset of 2017.  In what was widely considered a ‘routine’ defence, Caleb Truax shocked the world by working his way to a 116-112, 115-114, 114-114 majority decision victory, ripping the IBF Super Middleweight title from James Degale.

The fight was billed as a homecoming and a comeback fight for the Degale. Having not fought in the UK for over two years and injuries sustained from the Badou Jack fight sidelining the Hammersmith man for the most part of 2017, the former Olympic Gold medallist was eager to impress.

A prepared, game and relentless Caleb Truax was not accounted for by Degale and team. The pressure and constant work rate of the Minnesota man proved to be the defining factor in the fight. The ring rust was noticeable from a mile away, as right hands and uppercuts found their way throughout the fight on the former World champion’s chin, who must surely be hoping to finish and forget a nightmare year in boxing.

Speaking after the fight, Degale admitted rushing back from his injury, and expressed the desire for a rematch with Truax.

“If I’m honest I probably rushed back. I got an operation in June and maybe that was a bit too early to come back but I have to sort things out and I want the rematch. 

“I have to talk to Al Haymon and see what we can work out.”

Truax applied constant pressure throughout the fight.

For Truax, the story is magical. Winning a world title on foreign soil with a career best performance. I spoke to Truax a few weeks back; he told me about how he initially became a professional boxer to pay off his student loan. Years later, he leaves the UK a fully deserving champion.

Lee Selby beat Eduardo Ramirez over 12 worlds in a non-title bout, in an encounter which proved much more awkward than expected for the Welshman. Scores of 119-109, 116-112 and 119-110 suggest a comfortable enough night for Selby, which perhaps lays credit to his ability to still perform even when not at his usual dazzling best. Ramirez presented problems of his own throughout the fight, finding success throughout periods. Missing a checkweight by 3lbs implied Ramirez could no longer challenge for Selby’s IBF title, and you have to wonder how much better he might have faired if he had taken preparations a slight more seriously.

Selby was comfortable enough for the majority of the fight.

Josh Warrington was in attendance ringside on punditry duties with BT and Boxnation. A fight between Selby and Warrington has been teased for years, and now it seems 2018 may finally be the year for the 126lbs to take place.

As expected, Daniel Dubois blasted through Dorian Darch in two rounds. The enslaught of the young 20-year-old proved too much for Darch, as Dubois’ power once again shone through in devastating fashion, There is no denying the talent and promise of the young Heavyweight prospect, but until he encounters a man able enough to present problems, all judgement must be reserved.

Anthony Yarde faced the toughest opposition of his career to date at the Copper Box Arena tonight. Although maintaining his streak of knockouts within four rounds, the Light Heavyweight sensation found himself on the receiving end of meaningful blows for arguably the first time as a professional. Nikola Sjekloca presented a game challenge, and definite step up in opposition from previous Yarde opponents.

Still, ”The Beast’ floored his man in the second and again in the fourth, before the referee jumped in too save the brave Montenegro man who was clearly out on his feet. Holding the WBO Inter-Continental and European straps at the end of the fight, one could not help but feel that a bout with current World champion, Sergey Kovalev, could soon be a possible fight on the table.

The vacant IBF East/West European belt found a new owner in the both Welterweight and Middleweight division. Joe Mullender (160lbs) and Jonny Garton (147lbs) bested Lee Churcher and Mihail Orlov respectively, too close their boxing accounts for 2017 with a new piece of silverware on the mantelpiece.

The highly touted Harvey Horn marked his entrance onto the professional scene with an impressive stoppage victory. The standout amateur and former GB boxer has been predicted to do big things in the paid ranks; the eagerness of veteran promotor Frank Warren to sign Horn pre-debut provides evidence enough.

Other Results From The Evening

Archie Sharp bt Rafeal Castillo Super Featherweight
Sanjeev Sahota bt Ivan Godor Super Lightweight
Hamzah Sheeraz bt Victor Edagha Super Welterweight
Umar Sadiq bt Yailton Neves Super Middleweight

Written by Thomas Humber