It was expected to come and now it’s official. Former IBF super middleweight champion James DeGale (25-3-1, 15 KOs) announced his retirement from the sport of boxing today, following last weekend’s disappointing loss to Chris Eubank Jr. DeGale’s statement read in part:
“Today marks ten years since my professional debut fight and today is the day I am announcing my retirement from boxing,” DeGale said in a statement.
”It’s been an unbelievable journey and I’ve had an amazing decade -- if I’m honest, the best years of my life -- and having started boxing at the age of nine then being selected as part of the England Amateurs squad, I’ve collected many memories along the way.
”It hard to admit that I’m not the fighter I once was, but I’m human and along the way, my injuries have taken a toll -- both on mind and body and these things have contributed to impact my performance in the ring.”
In recent years DeGale suffered a number of lingering injuries and some other physical consequences of being a professional fighter. In a brutal draw with Badou Jack in early 2017 DeGale would have his front tooth knocked out and also suffered a deviated septum which hindered his breathing.
Then a nagging shoulder injury ended up requiring surgery which left DeGale out of action for nearly a full year. But when he returned at the end of 2017 he suffered an upset loss to Caleb Truax, and openly admitted afterwards that he had returned too quickly from the injury.
DeGale would fight Truax again, beat him to win his title back, but even that fight was a hard one, with DeGale just nicking a unanimous decision on the scorecards. DeGale would eventually vacate his title and take a soft touch against Fidel Monterrosa Munoz last September before stepping back up in competition in a grudge match against Chris Eubank Jr.
In his prime DeGale would’ve probably entered that fight as a heavy favorite, but the visible decline in DeGale proved just to be too much as the younger and fresher Eubank Jr. outworked him over the distance.
But when reflecting on his career DeGale said he’s accomplished more than he would’ve ever expected, becoming the first British Olympic gold winner to go on to win a major world title. DeGale says he’d like to think he accomplished everything doing it the clean, hard, and honest way, and will be walking away from the sport with his head held high.
We wish DeGale all the best in his future endeavors.