By Chris LaBate
Echo Arena, Liverpool - James DeGale (11-1, 8KOs) won a twelve round majority decision over a very game Piotr Wilczewski (29-2, 10KOs) to win the EBU super middleweight title. The scores were 114-114, 115-113, 115-113. It was DeGale first bout since losing a close decision to George Groves a few months ago.
DeGale used his faster hands and quick feet to win the early rounds, but it wasn't by much. The round were very close with Wilczewski applying the pressure and coming forward at all times. In the fourth round, Wilczewski landed a few hard right hands on DeGale, who answered back with combinations on the inside. An exchange in the fourth opened a cut around the right eye of DeGale.
DeGale was having a good fifth round, catching the champion as he walked in....but in the final minute Wilczewski rocked DeGale with a big right hand and had him in all sorts of trouble until the bell. Both of them had moments of success in the sixth, as they traded punches on the inside.
Wilczewski was outworked in the seventh, but he returned to stun DeGale with another right hand in the first thirty seconds of the eight round. Degale stayed composed and hit back with a hard uppercut and worked the champion over on the inside to get him in minor trouble in the final minute. Wilczewski slowed down a lot in the ninth, allowing DeGale to outwork him again.
The bodyshots of DeGale were key weapons. Wilczewski was taking them for most of the fight, but the punches paid off in the championship rounds. The tough Pole was slowing down considerably. A left hand knocked out Wilczewski's mouthpiece in the final seconds.
In the eleventh, DeGale's accurate shots to the head and body were forcing Wilczewski to hold on. But once again, in the final minute, a right hand on the temple stunned DeGale for a few seconds. DeGale stood his ground and they were trading punches on the inside until the bell.
In the opening seconds of the twelfth, a left hand from DeGale sent an off-balance Wilczewski stumbling into the ropes. They went back to trading hard combinations on the inside. DeGale was ripping the body. Wilczewski got DeGale against the ropes and they continued to trade punches until the bell. DeGale was landing the cleaner shots.