Euro joy for brave DeGale
Londoner forced to come through the storm in fifth round
Last Updated: 16/10/11 1:51am
James Degale battled his way to a majority points verdict over Piotr Wilczewski to claim the European super-middleweight title.
In his first fight since losing to bitter rival George Groves five months ago, 'Chunky' was forced to overcome some worrying moments to get the better of his Polish opponent at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.
DeGale, who ended up with a cut around his eye, was given the nod 115-113 by two judges, with the third at ringside scoring it a 114-114 draw.
However the 25-year-old southpaw had to weather an almighty storm in the fifth that saw him caught with a right hook to the temple.
The blow seemed to wobble the legs of the Olympic gold medalist, leading to Wilczewski charging forward in the hope of landing another big shot that could possibly have resulted in an early finish to the contest.
However DeGale - who had shaded the opening rounds, albeit without ever looking too dangerous - regrouped well after he at one stage looked like he was going to the canvas.
With his senses fully restored, the London southpaw used his superior boxing skills to keep the champion at a distance for the most part.
He did walk into two wide rights at the start of the 10th, though his stamina and bravery in fighting back were beyond question.
Wilczewski landed a jolting right in the 11th too, though Degale replied by shading the frantic final few exchanges of an entertaining bout.