James DeGale stunned, loses title belt to Caleb Truax

LONDON -- James DeGale wanted to show his home fans in the U.K. what they had been missing but failed to deliver as he lost his world title on a majority decision to Caleb Truax on Saturday.

The English boxer's first fight in England since November 2014 quickly turned into a nightmare as he allowed Truax to dictate matters from the second round.

The unheralded American went on to deservedly win by scores of 116-112, 115-112 and 114-114 and claimed the IBF world super-middleweight title from DeGale, who was making a fourth defence, at the Copper Box Arena in Stratford, east London.

DeGale's curiously out-of-sort display was a welcome surprise for little-known Truax (29-3-2, 18 KOs) and this will go down as one of boxing's big shocks of 2017.

The Londoner went into the fight ranked as ESPN's world No.1 super-middleweight and a massive 1/100 favourite against 16-1 shot Truax with local bookmakers.

But DeGale (23-2-1, 14 KOs), who had only been punching seven weeks after shoulder surgery in early June, quickly fell apart against little-known American Truax and looked laboured throughout.

Truax's highest ranking with any of the four world governing bodies was 15th but he found it easy at times to hit DeGale.

"I've boxed at a high level for a long time and I have to go back to the drawing board," said DeGale.

"I thought I won it, I need to sort a few bits out. If I'm honest maybe I rushed back and I should have waited to next year. But credit to him and I want the rematch."

As much of a nightmare it was for DeGale, it was a dream night for Truax, who only started boxing professionally to pay off his student loan.

Truax, 34, from Osseo in Minnesota, had been beaten when ever he had previously faced elite opposition. Last year, American Anthony Dirrell stopped him in a round and, in his only previous world title attempt, was stopped by Daniel Jacobs for the WBA middleweight belt in 2015.

It was DeGale's first fight since surgery on his right shoulder after a gruelling points draw with Sweden's Badou Jack in January and his first outing in the U.K. since November 2014 after four appearances in North America.

And perhaps the shoulder injury contributed to his below par performance.

The Londoner wanted to put on a good show in first fight in the UK for over three years and he made a sharp start in the first round, catching Truax with a great right to the top of the head as the challenger looked to spring an attack out of a crouch.

DeGale, 31, was unhappy with his lack of jabs thrown against Jack and he was unable to dominate behind the jab against Truax as well.

With DeGale's jab failing to keep Truax at bay, the challenger had some success in the second and third rounds with hooks as he burrowed forward.

Truax, who only started boxing professionally to pay off his student loan, was more difficult than he should have been for DeGale.

The fourth ended with Truax landed a left hook to the head and putting the champion under pressure on the ropes.

DeGale did not look comfortable, using his right hand sparingly, and in the fifth he was on shaky legs after being nailed by a right uppercut and right cross in a corner.

Truax caught DeGale with more shots that landed flush and soon the champion's face was dripping with blood with a suspected broken nose.

DeGale tried to escape along the ropes but was caught by more straight rights and it was only late in the fifth that he was able to rally.

Truax benefited from DeGale's leaky defence again in the sixth round and the champion entered the second half of the fight seemingly behind on the scorecards.

DeGale took some heavy shots in a corner in the tenth round before the Londoner tried to rally in the 11th, but ended the fight with his faced marked up and resigned to defeat.

A fight against one of his British rivals -- George Groves, Chris Eubank Jr and Callum Smith -- is now out of the question for DeGale, who will seek an immediate rematch.