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James DeGale made to work for points win over Rogelio Medina

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James DeGale was forced to go to the judges to overcome Rogelio Medina

James DeGale made a successful defence of his IBF super-middleweight title with a hard-fought points victory over Rogelio Medina in Washington DC.

DeGale was in control for the majority of the 12 rounds but could not deliver on his pre-fight promise of a knockout, instead relying on a unanimous decision, by scores of 115-113, 116-112 and 117-111.

It had looked like it would be a short evening's work for the 30-year-old after some sparkling early rounds had his Mexican opponent in trouble, but Medina showed superb durability to hang in there while taking the punishment before improving as the fight went on.

He even briefly flirted with the idea of causing an upset as DeGale struggled to complete the job, but the Briton did enough to secure the judges' decision and extend his record to 23-1-KO14.

He can now look forward to a potential super-middleweight unification fight with WBC champion Badou Jack, who retained his world title with a majority draw against Lucian Bute on Saturday.

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DeGale says he is disappointed with himself despite his victory

Jack's promoter Floyd Mayweather said he expected his man to meet DeGale in London in September.

He said: "James DeGale is a very exciting fighter. He's also very explosive. In the future, those two meet down the line in a unification bout, sometime in September. We have to take that to the UK."

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Badou Jack connects with a left on Lucian Bute in their WBC super middleweight championship bout
Image: Badou Jack (left) earned a majority draw with Lucian Bute to retain his title

Speaking of his win, DeGale said: "He's a very tough fighter, he has obviously got a lot stronger and better over the last year and a half. But skills pay the bills.

"I'm a bit disappointed. I should be taking out people like 'Porky' Medina, that's no disrespect to him. But I'm still learning.

"But the main thing is I am still champ. I've got to work on things still."

James DeGale celebrates after retaining his IBF super middleweights belt
Image: James DeGale celebrates after retaining his IBF super-middleweight belt

Medina was unhappy with the decision, saying he was frustrated by head-butts from DeGale.

"He said he was going to stop me," said Medina, who fell to 36-7-KO30. "He was running all around and he didn't stop me like he said he would. He was head-butting me and I was getting a little frustrated and that's why I spit on him.

"He's the only one who thinks he won. The fans think I won. I definitely want the rematch."

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