James DeGale vs Caleb Truax, Lee Selby vs Eduardo Ramirez, Anthony Yarde vs Nikola Sjekloca, and Daniel Dubois vs Dorian Darch
BY KID HERSH
Live streaming on YouTube for us American folk to see the return to the ring of James DeGale.
The first fight up saw DDD Daniel "Dangerous" Dubois (5-0, 5KO's) taking on Dorian Darch (12-5-1, 1KO). The fight did not last long, just as Dubois's fights do not at this point, as he knocked down Darch four times in about four minutes of action to get his sixth knockout in an many fights. Dubois is ready to step up further and I am curious to see him in there against some punchers. He is still only 20 years old and looks to be a great talent.
Next up was Anthony Yarde (13-0, 12KO's) vs Nikola Sjekloca (32-4-1, 11KO's). In the first round Sjekloca was fighting on the front foot, looking to press the younger and more inexperienced man, while also popping the jab. Yarde, meanwhile, did not look flustered at all whatsoever and was athletically picking his spots to punch while moving in and out on light feet. In the second round Sjekloca continued pressing forward while trying to make Yarde uncomfortable but he took a right hand on the chin near the end of the round that put him down. He was unsteady but managed to make it through the final thirty seconds of the round while Yarde punished him further but showed patience. In the third round Sjekloca was taking more punishment but held up surprisingly well under it. It is just a question of how much he can take, at this point. in the fourth round the fight was over when Yarde landed more bombs that put Sjekloca on queer street. He was dropped by a left hook that also drew blood on the right side of his face and the end was all over a minute into the fourth round when the referee stepped in and stopped the fight while Sjekloca was still on his feet but all but finished as he was taking punches from all angles - including uppercuts at the end of the fight. Huge statement victory by Yarde.
Next up was Lee Selby (25-1, 9KO's) vs Eduardo Ramirez (20-0-3, 7KO's). This fight was a masterclass for Selby and a classic Lee Selby type of fight. Ramirez did not have the skills or power to land anything on Selby, who was dancing around the ring on his toes and pikcing off the Mexican easily whenever and wherever he wanted. Ramirez, for his part, was trying very hard but was having no success on the fleet-footed elusive enigma in front of him. When Selby boxes like this he is really something to watch. It wasn't until late in the eighth round that Ramirez had success as he seemingly went for broke - throwing boxing to the wind and just bulled right into Selby throwing combinations. The tactic worked, but it was also perhaps because Selby may have been tiring. The fight went back to looking like previous rounds, with Selby showing beautiful footwork and Ramirez swinging and missing quite frequently. In the championship rounds it was all Lee Selby as the champion pressed forward, wearing down Ramirez, hurting him a few times but not having the knockout punch needed to drop or stop his man. Overall it was a dominant performance as I disagree with the announcers who thought it was semi-close, giving Ramirez at least four rounds or so. I think Selby pitched a near shutout and the judges had it closer to my idea of the actual score as Selby won the UD.
Main event time featuring James DeGale (23-1-1, 14KO's) vs Caleb Truax (28-3-2, 18KO's). In the first round Truax was plodding forward but unable to land anything of note while DeGale was using his excellent range to fight from the outside and move on Truax. The fight was looking like a carbon copy of the one right before it until in the third round Truax started having success from his pressure fighting as he was more so pushing DeGale around the ring and looked the man who was in control as the ring general. He carried the success into the fourth round and then in the fifth round Truax trapped DeGale in the corner and blasted away with uppercuts and right hands that drew a lot of blood from the champion and obviously hurt him. DeGale was spraying blood like a stuck pig, looking a bit beaten up like in his previous fight eleven months ago against Badou Jack that may have been the fight of the year. The rounds were very close, with Truax coming forward and doing very well in pressing DeGale around the ring but both men were not landing very clean and effective blows; only occasionally did they land really telling shots. The ones that were telling blows were mostly coming from Truax, however, who had a strong tenth round. DeGale came out in the eleventh round and had one of his best rounds of the fight as he was finally planting his feet, sitting down on his punches and backing up Truax or stopping him in his tracks so that he could not push him around the ring. I do not know why he did not start doing this a long time ago. DeGale had another good twelfth and final round but surprisingly Truax ended up giving the round away; choosing to circle the ring in the second half of the round and hold his hands up, thinking he surely has the fight won. Hopefully this does not come back to bite him in the ass though; because it is a very close fight in my eyes. The cards would come in 114-114, 115-112 and 116-112 for the winner and the NEW champion Caleb Truax, from none other than Minnesota.