James DeGale regained his IBF super middleweight championship with a hard-fought unanimous decision over now former titlist Caleb Truax. However, it was more of a battle of the fouls than a boxing match.
"Two-time world champion. It feels great. But full credit to Caleb -- he showed he can mix it with the top fighters," DeGale said. "I'm just happy that I'm a two-time world champion and I got my IBF world title back. I'm back. He embarrassed me [in December], but we're back."
Judge Robert Hoyle and Don Trella scored the bout 114-113, while Judge John McKaie had a questionable 117-110 score. FightNights.com scored the bout 114-113 for DeGale.
The pair fought in December 2017, when Truax pulled off a major upset, defeating DeGale in London by majority decision.
The bout was FightNights.com's 2017 Upset of the Year.
DeGale (24-2-1, 14 KO's), 32, of the United Kingdom, connected on multiple headbutts in the early rounds. However, it was Truax that struck first blood -- and lots of it.
Truax (29-4-2, 18 KO's), 34, of Osseo, Minnesota, scored with a butt in the third round, which opened up a gushing cut over the right eye of DeGale. The Englishman's corner closed the cut several times throughout the fight, but Truax continued to re-open it.
In the sixth round, the foul fest continued as Truax connected on another headbutt, and DeGale got his revenge in the seventh round with an elbow.
Referee Robert Byrd finally got involved in the 10th round and deducted a point from DeGale for using his shoulder.
As far as actual boxing was concerned, DeGale connected on a hard right hand to the body in the ninth round -- his best punch of the night.
Truax pressed the action throughout the bout, but was unable to fire off his punches the way he wanted to, which negated his punch accuracy.
However, Truax woke up DeGale in the third round with two big right hands, before the headbutt fest took full effect.