By Lwazi Ndzobongo: Caleb Truax ended the 2017 year as the IBF Super Middleweight Champion, this after overcoming James DeGale at the Copper Box Arena in London,England. Going into the fight, Truax was the underdog and considered a tune up fight for then champion DeGale, who had gone tooth and nail in his previous fight, a draw against Badou Jack. Many boxing observers felt that DeGale was lucky to get the draw in that fight.
Truax started his boxing career in April of 2007 with a 2nd round TKO win over Ray Walker, he then went 19 fights without a loss until he lost to Jermaine Taylor in April of 2012, beating the likes of Antwun Echols and Andy Kolle amongst others along the way. He had Taylor down in the 9th round but was unable to capitalize and lost by unanimous decision over 10 rounds. That setback was followed by a run of 9 undefeated fights, topping the likes of Matt Vanda and drawing with Ossie Duran. This led to him challenging for the WBA (Regular) Middleweight Title against Daniel Jacobs in April 2015, he was able to last 12 rounds against Jacobs before being knocked out in the final round with 48 seconds left. Despite the loss, the Minnessota native came out with his head held high as many didn’t see him surviving that long against the ’Miracle Man’ Jacobs.
He then went on to beat Melvin Belancourt by 4th round TKO before suffering his third career loss to Anthony Dirrell by 1st round TKO in April 2016. Two more wins against Zachariah Kelley (TKO 2) and KeAndrae Leatherwood (TKO 10), set him up for the DeGale fight.
Truax came into the fight as a fighter who seems to fail when faced with the A level fighters, as depicted by his 3 losses above. Nevertheless he had two good wins coming into the DeGale fight and despite no one giving him much of a chance, his record of 23 wins, 3 losses, 2 draws and 18 knockouts showed that he was capable of pulling off the upset. DeGale had been in a war against Jack in his last fight and had been out of the ring for 11 month before this title defence.
On the 9th of December, Truax started the faster against DeGale and was able to land the heavier punches throughout the fight. DeGale used his vast experience in the later rounds to come back into the fight but it was too little too late. Truax’s stamina and endurance won him the majority decision to capture the IBF World Title with scores of 116-112, 115-112 and 114-114 in his favor. Truax’s victory was one of the biggest boxing upsets of the year, which makes he our Secondsout comeback of the year fighter for 2017.
A rematch is set to take place in the first half of 2018.