Aftermath: DeGale vs Eubank Jr

Boxing Monthly
25/02/2019 2:35pm

Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

James Oddy, Chris Glover, Andrew Harrison, Shaun Brown, Callum Rudge and Lee Gormley are here with their take on Chris Eubank Jr's victory against James DeGale, including where next for Junior and DeGale's place in British boxing history...

BM: How did you see / score the fight?

JO: I didn't score it but the correct man won. Hard to give DeGale many rounds. 117-109 was the most accurate scoreline of the judges ringside.

CG: I saw the fight as a wide Eubank Jr victory. There were fears of DeGale being shot going in, and that would be Eubank Jr’s key to victory. And that is essentially what happened for the most part.

AH: It was difficult to give DeGale more than a handful of rounds.

SB: 115-110 Eubank.

CR: I scored it 116-109 to Eubank. I gave DeGale the opener and a couple of the middle rounds where he was able to pot shot and tie up Eubank. There were a couple of other close rounds but overall a comprehensive victory for Eubank Jr.

LG: I had Eubank Jr up 116-109 in the end. He looked an improved fighter and the benefit of having a trainer in his corner, along with the absence of his dad, seemed to help him a lot. DeGale did well to survive through to the end after taking some big shots but he’s clearly ready for retirement now. He’s had a top career.

BM: Was the result due to Eubank improvements or DeGale regression?

JO: A little of both. Eubank was still wild and crude at times but he showed a patience, and a jab, which has cost him dear when lacking in the past. DeGale was a shadow of himself. Hesitant, often throwing single shots and bullied psychically from the first bell. A fighter with more guile could have maybe stopped him.

CG: Yes Eubank has improved, let’s not take anything away from him from that perspective. However, a large part of his victory has to be down to the unfortunate regression of DeGale. Eubank did what he had to do stylistically wise and credit to him for that.

SB: Bit of both. DeGale has had some gruelling fights that are bound to have taken their toll. Eubank was using some fundamentals and reined in the aggression until he could take more and more risks.

AH: The result was all to do with DeGale's regression. He barely threw his right hand and was reduced to single left hand leads at times. His punch resistance has gone, also. I have no idea what Eubank's tactics were. He landed most of his punches in the clinches, or he'd shove DeGale and then try to take advantage. He's an eyesore to watch.

CR: Eubank is at a point now where he isn’t going to change loads but i think having Nate Vazquez in the corner was a help for him, he was giving Eubank good practical advice and he paced the contest well. DeGale for all his promise has had a lot of hard fights and has definitely regressed, his legs aren’t what they were and more importantly his punch resistance has totally gone so every time Eubank landed something big, DeGale looked hurt whereas until the Badou Jack fight, he never looked hurt.

LG: Both were in effect for me. Eubank Jr looked a better fighter from the Groves loss and he was able to implement what Nate Vasquez was telling him between rounds, rather than winging it like before. DeGale has clearly regressed a lot and should probably call it a day now. 

BM: Can Eubank topple any of the top dogs at 168lbs? Who would you like to see him in against?

JO: Considering Eubank took care of Yildirim with relative ease and the Turkish boxer pushed Anthony Dirrell very hard on Sunday night for the WBC strap, that seems a very winnable showdown. It'll be an ugly fight but one I'd be targeting. I'd say it's best Eubank avoids Callum Smith or Canelo. For as long as possible.

CG: I think Eubank Jr’s come-forward style would trouble Dirrell, but I believe Caleb Plant and Callum Smith would be a bridge too far for the Brighton man.

SB: You'd have to pick him against Dirrell. Plant is a 50-50 but not Ramirez or Smith.

AH: Smith would dominate Eubank, and I wouldn't fancy his chances against 'Zurdo' Ramirez either.

CR: Looking at the other world champions the only one I can see Eubank having big trouble with is Callum Smith who is in the form of his life and is a unit at the weight. Plant (IBF) and Dirrell (WBC) hold nothing that Eubank should fear and given his high ranking with the WBC I can see him targeting Dirrell next.

LG: If Dirrell doesn’t have to face Benavidez next or give Yildirim a rematch, then that’s a promising fight for Eubank. He won’t fear Plant either if he targets a proper world title. A Saunders rematch for the WBO belt down the line could be interesting too.

BM: DeGale and Groves - who had the better career?

JO: It's amazing how much the amateur rivals mirrored each other. DeGale had the gold medal, and made history with the IBF title win, but Groves had perhaps the more cross-over success, even in defeat, against Froch. Both men had good careers they can be proud of but also flattered to deceive at times. Ultimately, I'd have to say Groves just piped his old rival based on performance level.

CG: Groves likely earned more money, but I would say DeGale. A true road warrior who fought anyone, anywhere and defended his title with pride. It didn’t end the way many of us would have wanted it, but James DeGale epitomised what it meant to be world champion.

SB: Groves.

AH: I think DeGale had the better career but, perhaps fittingly, it's one they can both argue about for years to come. 'Chunky' came within a whisker of becoming the first boss at 168lbs since Andre Ward (against Jack), which would swing it for me.

CR: If you go off Boxrec alone, you can break it down to DeGale's best wins being against Dirrell and Bute and Groves' being Chudinov and Eubank Jr. Both were close to if the not the best in their class at one point and held world titles. DeGale won a world title in America whereas Groves lost, but Groves had the big domestic rivalry with Froch, sold out Wembley Stadium and beat DeGale. I would just lean towards Groves.

LG: Winning an Olympic Gold medal in the amateurs then following it up with a professional world title is an incredible feat by DeGale. I’d have to edge it to Groves overall, narrowly. It’s a good debate to have over a few pints!