Newly Crowned IBF super middleweight champion James DeGale (21-1, 14 KOs) will make the first defense of his title against former champion Lucian Bute (32-2, 25 KOs). The matchup had been speculated for weeks and will take place November 28th. The site location will be the Videotron Centre in Quebec City, Canada. Both fighters are now being advised by powerful boxing advisor Al Haymon. Showtime will air the event.
DeGale is fresh off his world title winning performance over Andre Dirrell. DeGale had Dirrell down twice early in the fight and appeared on his way to a clear dominate win. Dirrell recovered from the knockdowns and closed the fight strong where DeGale seemed to fade. The official judges all saw in DeGale’s favor in the end which seemed to be a fair decision. There were a number of names rumored to be DeGale’s next opponents and that his first defense would land in his native United Kingdom. The best deal apparently brought to the table for DeGale seems to be this one in Canada.
Bute ended a near 19 month layoff this past August with a knockout victory against unheralded italian Andrea Di Luisa. Bute to his credit did not waste time and did what he was supposed to do. The win was Bute’s first since 2012. He will enter this fight with DeGale having fought just 4 times in the last 3 years.
Many are already writing Bute off and dismissing this fight as a mismatch in favor of DeGale. This is understandable considering the latest of both combatants. In boxing it’s not always that simple. The fact is that this could actually turn out to be a very good fight. Some felt entering the DeGale vs. Dirrell fight that it might be a dull affair and that was the exact opposite. The Romanian born Bute will be fighting at home in his resident Canada wear he sells out the venues regularly for his fights. His emotions will be running high for sure. Time will tell if this will be enough for him to recapture the title he once held and defended for multiple years.