By Alexey Sukachev
Hull, UK - James DeGale (14-1, 9 KOs) is one of the most prominent pure boxers in the game. He has speed, reflexes and hand-eye coordination, which matches those of the very best technicians of this era. He also has swagger and ego, which can help him advertise both himself and his fights. And he has an Olympic gold medal (captured at 2008 Beijing Olympics) to rely on. What he hasn't got over these years of fighting, is an ability to please fans and to produce thrilling performances even against overmatched opponents while fighting on the domestic soil.
Against former four-time world title challenger Fulgencio Zuniga, 35, DeGale showed his power early on but then pulled his foot off the gas pedal, giving a chance for survival, his experienced opponent was content to realize. Degale, 26, used his trademark lightning-fast combinations to score time and again early in the opening stanza. The cagey and grizzled Colombian showed his tactical skills against a faster rival in the second, but the third round proved to be a catastrophe for the aging Latino import. WBC #3, WBO #4 and IBF #6DeGale controlled his every move and connected with stinging hooks and left uppercuts. One of luppercuts dropped Zuniga hard at the end of the round. The Colombian, who started his career at a light middleweight class, got up at the count of eight, and continued fighting. The Brit failed to finish him off.
Zuniga, feeling the pain, worked his way into the fight (at least partially) in the fourth stanza. DeGale was creating a lead on the scorecards at the very same time. He landed hard shots in almost every round, rocking Zuniga on several occasions. The Colombian veteran tried to use his body shots to an extent, trying to slow the mercurial Brit down. It wasn't the case but he forced DeGale to fight off the ropes in several cases. The younger fighter was a better of the two even under those rare and uncomfortable circumstances, tagging Zuniga with the textbook punches. None of those punches really damaged the Colombian but their cumulative effect was astounding, deleting every possible chance for the Latino fighter to get any extra points on the judges' scorecards.
Late in the fight, DeGale stopped fighting at his very best, giving Zuniga some opportunities to showcase his skills as well. It wasn't enough to earn him more than two points on the scorecards. All three judges - Luca Montella, Freddy Ravn and Francisco Vasquez Marcos - were in agreement with each other and BoxingScene: 118-109 - for James DeGale, who is now the WBC Silver super middleweight champion. Zuniga falls down to 25-7-1, with 22 KOs.
Rising prospect Chris Eubank Jr. stopped Olegs Fedotovs in what some believe was a premature ending in the second round. The referee for the fight was Terry O'Connor. Eubank's record is now 9-0, 4 KOs. Fedotovs of Latvia falls down to 15-10, 11 KOs.