DeGale's early delight

Image: DeGale: too good for Dilks

James DeGale needed less than a round to stop Carl Dilks in their British super-middleweight title eliminator.

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Golden Boy lets his fists to do the talking in style

James DeGale needed less than a round to outclass Carl Dilks and get Magnificent Seven off to a blistering start. Out first, the Olympic gold medallist barely broke sweat on his way to an eighth straight professional win, stopping the Liverpudlian with six seconds of the opening session to go. Referee Howard Foster was booed for stepping in by some sections of a crowd anticipating a keen contest, but with Dilks backed onto the ropes for second time in quick succession and his eye cut already, it was by no means premature. DeGale celebrated with his trademark cupped hand pointed skywards and striking that pose was the stillest those fists had been all night. His mouth was soon in motion though and he wasted little time calling out the leading super-middleweights in Britain. Carl Froch aside, European champion Brian Magee and British champion Paul Smith are in his sights and although this was an eliminator for the latter's belt, both the Londoner and Frank Warren made it clear it is Commonwealth king and arch rival George Groves he wants next. Groves was among the growing crowd at the LG Arena in Birmingham and you can be sure he was in his seat in time - unlike plenty - to see the third first-round win of his foe's fledgling career. This was supposed to be a tough test against a hardened pro that would fight that back. But DeGale does not do things conventionally and was clearly out to defy those who had predicted a rough ride. From the off his southpaw jab broke through twice and although he was ticked off for a low shot, he soon followed that up with left and right hooks to warn Dilks he would be under attack from all angles, however long the fight lasted. DeGale had predicted a sixth-round finish and his opponent may well have fared better towards the back end of a 10-rounder, but as the first round reached it's midway point, the Londoner's power sent Dilks onto the ropes for the first time. His response was to off-load a couple of big rights that were more of a distraction than a danger, and merely allowed Chunky to show off his defensive skills and duck them with ease before retaliating with a heavy left. His jab then prised open Dilks again to reveal blood around his left eye and seeing his man was never going to pose the threat many expected, DeGale stepped up the pressure and was soon celebrating another win. The telling punch was a straight left that sent Dilks' head rocking back and shunted him onto the ropes. But unable to respond, he stayed their and invited the stoppage. One more cute little uppercut hit the target and another left, and although a couple more found only forearms, referee Foster beat DeGale to the final act, waving it off sharply.

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