James DeGale Blows Hot And Cold In Points Win Over Felgencio Zuniga

Harlesden super middleweight James “Chunky” DeGale largely dominated a dogged Fulgencio Zuniga in Hull, Saturday evening, yet he didn’t have everything his own way after the Barranquilla veteran came on over the second half of the contest. The Londoner almost took Zuniga out in round 3, had the Colombian hurt and teetering on the brink at several junctures during the remainder of the bout, yet had to settle for a unanimous 118-109 verdict after another enigmatic, at times irksome showing.

DeGale (167 ½) began boxing with his usual swagger from the southpaw stance and jolted Zuniga (164 ½) with a left hook that preceded waves of windmill-armed attacks. DeGale would dart into range and then down into a crouch, where he’d then hold his feet before rapping off arm punches in an approach faintly reminiscent of the flashy former middleweight world titlist John David Jackson.

The current European champion at 168 lbs., DeGale had a knockdown chalked off in round 2, after the Italian referee, Luigi Muratore, decreed that he had whacked Zuniga behind the head with a curling right hook. A searing left uppercut sent the South American over for a legitimate count in the 3rd and, after a follow-up stabbing right knocked the visitor off-kilter once again, DeGale swarmed all over him. As a quick finish suddenly loomed into view, the overly pernickety Muratore inexplicably stepped between both fighters, hollered something into the crowd down at ringside, before then waving them back together again. It was a baffling moment that provided Zuniga with the precious few seconds he required in order to wriggle his way free from the knackery.

DeGale bossed the second quarter yet began allowing Zuniga to press him into the ropes, where he languished far too often, taking full-blooded shots into the bargain. Zuniga was wobbled again after a head clash in round 6, yet roared back admirably to take the next, after DeGale lolled for long spells along the strands. The remainder of the contest featured DeGale looking competent when in mid-ring but clueless while covering up on the threads. Zuniga had his best round in the 11th, when he uncorked a crashing overhand right that DeGale took well, if needlessly. Afterwards, the 26-year-old Olympic gold medallist pondered openly whether he should seek an alternative way of resting during a contest. He’ll need to, as pressers with more quality that the 35-year-old Zuniga will have a field day with his sitting duck routine.

Junior featherweight danger-man Kid Galahad (127 ¾) peppered Ivan Ruiz Morote (129 ¼) silly for three rounds before flattening him with a compact right hook against the ropes that swirled the Spaniard 90 degrees counter-clockwise and over onto his back. 22-year-old Galahad, Sheffield by way of Qatar, illustrated the forgotten art of hitting without being hit beautifully, while slipping effortlessly between stances. He declared himself a level above domestic rivals Scott Quigg and Carl Frampton in the aftermath and seems anxious to prove it, should either of them offer him the chance to do so. The finish came at the 2:50 mark and Galahad rises to 13-0 (6). It was Morote’s third loss in fifteen.

Brighton middleweight Chris Eubank Jr. won for the second time in a week, halting an aggrieved Olegs Fedotovs (164) at 2:30 of round 2. Eubank’s punches were a little wide at times, yet he had little trouble in dealing with the Latvian import who falls to 15-10 (11). Eubank (163 ¾) moves to 9-0 (4).

Promoter: Hennessy Sports

Television: Channel Five

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.