James DeGale seeks to win back super middleweight title from Caleb Truax in April rematch

Updated: March 10, 2018, 4:34 AM ET
By Dan Rafael

Former super middleweight world titleholder James DeGale, who lost his belt in the biggest upset of 2017, will get a chance to regain it from Caleb Truax.

Truax will make his first defense in a rematch with DeGale on April 7 (Showtime, 10 p.m. ET/PT) at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, TGB Promotions' Tom Brown and Leonard Ellerbe of Mayweather Promotions announced on Friday.

The bout will serve as the co-feature to the previously announced main event, a junior middleweight title unification fight between Jarrett Hurd and Erislandy Lara.

DeGale, a 2008 Olympic gold medalist for Great Britain, won a 168-pound world title by outpointing Andre Dirrell in Boston in 2015 and made three defenses all in either the United States or Canada. After his draw with Badou Jack in their January 2017 title unification fight, DeGale wanted a homecoming fight. His team picked Truax for the December fight in DeGale's hometown of London.

Truax (29-3-2, 18 KOs), 34, of Osseo, Minnesota, was a massive underdog, having been knocked out in the 12th round by Daniel Jacobs in a middleweight title bout in 2015 and by Anthony Dirrell, Andre's brother, in the first round of a super middleweight fight in 2016. But Truax fought the fight of his life and won a well-earned majority decision and the title on scores of 116-112, 115-112 and 114-114. Now he will give DeGale a chance to reclaim the title.

"They made the right call on the decision in England, and I expect to be even more dominant this time around," Truax said. "I am planning to really just beat up James DeGale and get the job done in more efficient fashion this time.

"Fighting in Las Vegas for the first time will be a very cool experience and I expect it to be friendlier than it was in London. There is a lot of pride on the line for me, being that I'm the first boxing world champion from Minnesota in a long time. So there is a lot on the line for me and I plan to keep that going, especially as a means for supporting my family."

DeGale (23-2-1, 14 KOs), a 32-year-old southpaw, was flat in the first fight with Truax and was coming off a series of injuries suffered in the rough fight against Jack. He considered retirement after losing to Truax.

"I'm happy to have the opportunity to rematch Truax and regain my IBF title," DeGale said. "I am not going to make excuses for my poor performance [in December]. Actions speak louder than words. I am excited to be boxing in Vegas and on Showtime again. The real JD will be back on fight night."

Hurd (21-0, 15 KOs), 27, of Accokeek, Maryland, will be making his second defense, and Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs), 34, a Cuban defector fighting out of Miami, Florida, will be making his seventh title defense.

"I plan on being the aggressor for the entire fight, so I've been doing some exercises and working on techniques to improve my foot work so that I can stay on top of Erislandy Lara,'' Hurd said. "We are not trying to go to the scorecards, so hopefully, I can be the first man to stop him, which I hope to do in the later rounds. I called him out, and now, it has come to pass that I get to become a unified champion against the man everyone considers to be the best and most feared in the division, and that's Erislandy Lara."

They both defended their titles on the same Showtime card on Oct. 14 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, with the idea that if they both won they would meet to unify. Hurd scored his biggest win, a stopping former titlist Austin Trout in the 10th round. Lara, a southpaw, easily outpointed Terrell Gausha in an action-free fight that had the crowd booing throughout.

"I'm very excited and motivated for this fight," Lara said. "I look forward to adding another belt to my collection on April 7 and to proving that I'm the best 154-pound fighter out there. It's going to be a legendary night and one for the history books."

Dan Rafael

ESPN Senior Writer

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