James DeGale vs Badou Jack Finally Set – The long awaited super middleweight title unification bout between IBF world titlist James DeGale and WBC champion Badou Jack has finally been made official. The match has been in the works since at least the beginning of the year, as both Jack and DeGale headlined Showtime’s April 30th card at the D.C. Armory.
Badou Jack faced Canada’s Lucian Bute in April and fought to a draw, while DeGale won a comfortable unanimous decision over Rogelio Medina. In the build-up to that fight, there was a great deal of talk about matching up the two winners for the September timeframe. Bute’s gutty performance in a draw lost some of it’s luster when he tested positive for PEDs in the aftermath of the fight. Though the draw may have taken a beat of the “bling” off the follow-up match between Jack and DeGale, Showtime still had two beltholders in a unification bout lined up.
Whatever the hold-up that prevented the match from being delivered in the original timeframe, the reality is that the new January date leaves both fighters with exactly one fight in the 2016 calendar year, and that is really unacceptable if boxing is going to be treated as a top-tier sport.
James DeGale vs Badou Jack Finally Set
DeGale is 30 years old with an overall record of 23-1 He has held the IBF title since May of 2015 when he defeated Andre Dirrell to win the vacant belt. DeGale was an Olympic gold medalist representing his home country of England back in 2008. The lone loss of his pro career came back in May of 2011, by a narrow majority decision to popular George Groves. Since winning the title he has defended the belt twice, fighting Lucien Bute in hostile territory (Canada) and Rogelio Medina in the United States.
As for Jack (20-1-2), the Swedish born 32 year old won his IBF belt back in April of 2015 when he defeated Anthony Dirrell, and he has made two defenses, scoring the draw with Bute and netting a win over common opponent George Groves. Jack re-located to Las Vegas early in his career and he is a part of Floyd Mayweather’s “The Money Team.” The lone setback he experienced was back in February of 2014 when he was knocked out by veteran Derek Edwards.
No venue has been announced yet, and Showtime has not updated their website fight calendar as of this writing. Leonard Ellerbe and Mayweather Promotions were the promoter of record for the April 30th twinbill that featured DeGale and Jack. It will be interesting to see if the high powered duo of Ellerbe and Floyd Mayweather Jr are the promoters for January’s event.
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