By Craig Phillips: British middleweight James DeGale sealed his place in tomorrow’s Olympic final; and guaranteed himself at least a silver medal, as he cruised past Irish opponent Darren Sutherland.
Going into the bout DeGale would have been a slight underdog; despite performing well in the tournament, as in the previous five meetings he has gone down four times to his Irish counterpart.
This was reflected in a tentative opening round as both men looked to each other to make the first move and neither took the initiative to make their mark on the bout.
But in the second session it was DeGale who took the advantage, boxing off the back foot he was always looking for Sutherland to come chasing and as he did DeGale outfoxed him and opened up a two point advantage at the halfway point.
It was the third round where the fight was won, as DeGale made it all look rather easy and picked off his opponent with several scoring shots and looked nothing short of superb in opening up an 8-2 lead.
In the final round DeGale did what he had to do and stayed out of trouble; although caught by a big right hand near the end, he managed to consolidate his lead and eventually win by a score of 10-3.
Speaking after the fight Sutherland wished the Englishman the best of luck in the final.
He said: "I’m happy enough. I stayed true to my values and I’m delighted with my bronze medal and I can hold my head high at these Olympics. I would like to wish James DeGale the best of luck in the final and I hope he wins gold."
DeGale will now look to become the first British boxer to overcome a Cuban at the games when he meets Emilio Correa Bayeaux in tomorrow’s final