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James DeGale relinquishes IBF title to chase “massive fights” in final phase of his career

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Two-time IBF super middleweight champion James “Chunky” DeGale24-2-1 (14) has relinquished the title he regained from Caleb Traux 29-4-2 (18) at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada last April.

The IBF had ordered a purse bid for a fight between DeGale and interim champion Jose Uzcategui 27-2 (23) to take place this Thursday 5 July. That order has now been withdrawn.

“No world champion easily gives up their world title that they’ve earned the hard way in the ring and I’ve proudly held the IBF world title in two reigns with pride and distinction which is why it makes it very hard to relinquish the belt,” said DeGale in a statement this week.

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“It has been a pleasure to work with the IBF and I would like to thank president Daryl Peoples for allowing me to challenge and hold the distinguished belt that so many of the division’s great champions have held before me. It has been an honor to be recognized as the IBF world champion and I hope that by now vacating it will ease the transition to determine a successor between the interim champion Jose Uzcategui and the next highly ranked available contender.

“I’ve achieved so much in my career, Olympic gold, British, European and international titles and two-time world champion and I believe I’m at the top of my game right now. I’m in the final phase of my career where I have a few good years left where I can be involved in massive fights and really leave a legacy in the division’s history. My team have been working very hard behind the scenes and we’ve got some very big and exciting news to announce soon.”

The 32-year-old DeGale won the vacant IBF crown against Andre Dirrell in May 2015, successfully defending it against Rogelio “Porky” Medina and Lucien Bute before being held to a draw in a unification bout against WBC champion Badou Jack in January last year. DeGale dropped a majority decision to Truax last December but revered the result in their rematch earlier this year.

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