James DeGale is a professional boxer who was born in London, England, on February 3, 1986. He spent most of his childhood living in the Hammersmith district in the western portion of London. DeGale had a strong passion and dedication for boxing at a very young age. He began training in a local boxing gym at the age of 10.
DeGale showed off his skills on a big stage at the 2006 Commonwealth Games after a decade of training. He lost in the semifinal round of the prestigious tournament in Melbourne to Jarrod Fletcher to take home the bronze medal. He also took home the silver medal at the 2007 and 2008 European Union Championships. The impressive showing in these three tournaments made DeGale an easy pick to represent Great Britain in the middleweight division at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. He easily won his first four fights in Beijing to set up a gold medal match against Cuba’s Emilio Correa. The Cuban ultimately cost himself the match after he was docked two points for biting.
James DeGale knew it was time to start focusing on a professional career in boxing after winning the gold medal in Beijing. His first professional fight took place on February 28, 2009, against Vepkhia Tchilaia. DeGale won the four-round match by decision. He got his first chance at winning a title after starting his professional career with six straight wins. A fight against Sam Horton on May 15, 2010, decided the new WBA International super-middleweight champion. Horton did not put up much of a fight before getting knocked out in the fifth round. DeGale successfully retained his new title four months later with a first round technical knockout of Carl Dilks. He relinquished the title shortly after the victory over Dilks.
A ninth-round technical knockout over Paul Smith helped James DeGale win the British super-middleweight title on December 11, 2010. The first defense of the new title came against George Groves on May 21, 2011. Groves ultimately won a close match by majority decision. This was James DeGale’s first loss in his professional boxing career. He followed up the loss with three easy wins before getting a shot at Fulgencio Zuniga’s WBC Silver super-middleweight title on December 8, 2012. James DeGale won another title after getting a unanimous decision victory after 12 grueling rounds. He successfully defended the new title against Stjepan Bozic, Dyah Davis and Gevorg Khatchikian.
After starting his professional career with a 20-1 record, DeGale got the chance to fight Andre Dirrell for the vacant IBF super-middleweight title on May 23, 2015. James added another title to his impressive resume with a unanimous decision victory over Dirrell. The new IBF title was successfully defended against Lucian Brute and Rogelio Medina. Both fights were also won by unanimous decision. He put up the IBF super-middleweight title against WBC super-middleweight champion Badou Jack in a unification bout on January 14, 2017. The wild match saw both fighters get knocked down. The judges deemed the fight too close to call. Both fighters got to keep their titles after the majority draw decision.