SAN DIEGO, Calif., February 23, 2019 – In two rough and tumble fights at the O2 Arena in London, British fan favorites Chris Eubank Jr. and Joe Joyce prevailed, and hope their efforts Saturday proved they’re worthy of title fight opportunities in their respective divisions.
Chris Eubank Jr. pummels James DeGale in biggest career win
In a fight far more lopsided than the scoring indicates, Chris Eubank Jr. won a unanimous decision over two time world champion and Olympic gold medalist James DeGale in the biggest fight of his career. Scores were 117-111, 115-112, and 114-112. Eubank Jr. now puts himself in a position to pursue a title in the super middleweight division.
“This is what I’ve been working for my entire career, pretty much. I dominated the fight and now I want to go on to bigger things,” said Eubank Jr. “There was a lot of animosity leading up to the fight, it fueled my performance.”
Just as they roughed each other up verbally leading up to the fight, Eubanks Jr. (28-2, 21 KOs) and DeGale (25-3, 15 KOs), played rough the entire bout. DeGale has been in punishing 12 round wars over the last few years of his career against the likes of Lucien Bute, Rogelio “Porky” Medina, Badou Jack, and Calex Truax, and those rough rounds caught up with him Saturday against Eubank Jr. DeGale possesses good boxing skills, but those skills weren’t employed often enough against the younger, fresher Eubank Jr.
Instead, DeGale tried to match Eubank Jr. punch for punch, switching to an orthodox stance at times early in the fight to see if he could trip Eubank Jr. up. Eubank Jr. seized the opportunity to deploy some dirty tactics. The result was a cut to DeGale from a headbutt in the first round, and things went south from there.
DeGale was dropped twice, once in the second round and once again in the tenth round. DeGale’s corner saw fit to send him back out for the final rounds in what seemed clearly a losing cause, but the scorecards turned out to be close enough that DeGale deserved the puncher’s chance to win. It wasn’t to be, but he did go out on his feet.
“I was confident in my abilities. I put a team around me now and they brought out the best in me tonight,” said Eubank Jr., who is no longer training with his father. “I hit (DeGale) with big shots that have knocked guys out cold. That’s a true testament to his will and tenacity to get up after those knockdowns and go to the final bell.”
“I knew that he was going to come in there and run and using his boxing ability,” said Eubank Jr. “He’s a slick southpaw. It’s hard to train for a man like that but the game plan worked. Smart pressure, not getting to ahead of myself, choosing my shots.”
“I didn’t do enough,”admitted DeGale, “but when you’re in there with someone like Chris with wild punches, I have to go back and watch it – I just didn’t do enough. He got two knockdowns, I’ll go back and watch – I just didn’t do enough.
DeGale faces decision about his future
DeGale said before the fight he would retire if he lost, but he didn’t pull the trigger just yet. “I’m going to go back, talk to my team, talk to my family. I’ve been to the heights of boxing, I’ve boxed the best around the world, two Olympic golds, two world titles.”
DeGale has nothing left to prove, and a lot to lose should he take any more serious punishment. Here’s hoping he gets good advice and calls it a career in the ring.
Eubank Jr. now wants title fights not only at super middleweight, but perhaps at middleweight as well. “I’m looking for the big fights now, the world title fights. I’m a natural middleweight, I’m eating breakfast bagels and porridge the day of the weigh in. I can challenge at 160 as well. I’m back where I need to be at the top of the food chain. I’m coming for all the other belts in the super middleweight division.”
Joe Joyce stops a diminished Bermane Stiverne in six rounds
Just as he did against Deontay Wilder in November 2017, Stiverne (25-4-1, 21 KOs) came in heavy, and appeared slow. Joyce (8-0, 8 KOs) dispensed with any feeling out round, going straight to Stiverne. Stiverne managed to avoid become the fifth of Joyce’s first round knockout victims. Joyce stayed patient, and finally dropped Stiverne via a right hand off a left jab just as Wilder did in the third round.
Stiverne stuck it out until the sixth round, when referee Howard Forser made the determination at 2:20 Stiverne was taking too much punishment. It was the right call on behalf of the veteran Stiverne. The will was there, but at age 40 in less than tip top condition with no title on the line, there was no reason for Stiverne to continue other than misplaced pride. He simply could not counterpunch effectively against Joyce’s speed and combination punching.
Joyce tests his conditioning in preparation for future fights
Joyce said Saturday’s fight was all about being patient and putting his conditioning to the test. “I think it was pretty good, don’t you?” said Joyce after the bout. “I managed to land a lot of shots. He threw some big shots at me. He’s a strong guy and very tough. I was hitting him with everything including the kitchen sink, and the bath too.” Joyce said he felt his jab was especially effective.
How soon does the former British Olympic silver medalist now training under Abel Sanchez think he will be ready to take on the names at the top of the division? “I think a couple more fights, this fight was a learning fight … I need a couple more of these and then I’ll be ready.” Joyce says he’s sparred all the top names except Deontay Wilder. “I hold my own in sparring, and I’m close to that level.”
Joyce said he’s eager to get back to The Summit in Big Bear, where he trains alongside Gennady Golovkin. “I have a lot of respect for Triple G, he’s a good guy. I look forward to coming back into camp. It will probably still be snowing there.”
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.
Copyright © 2019 by Falcon Valley Group