James DeGale dedicates world title to late Irish boxer Darren Sutherland

The pair had an intense rivalry in amateur circles and fought each other six times.

JAMES DEGALE MADE history last night and became the first British fighter to win an Olympic gold medal and a professional world title.

He claimed the vacant IBF super-middleweight belt after a points victory over Andre Dirrell at Boston’s Aggenis Arena.

But afterwards, a sombre DeGale dedicated his triumph to an old friend – Irish boxer Darren Sutherland, who died tragically in 2009.

The pair had an intense rivalry in amateur circles and fought each other six times, including at the 2008 Beijing Olympics when DeGale went on to win gold and the Dubliner took home the bronze medal.

iFL TV / YouTube

“When he (Sutherland) took his life in 2009, it was horrendous”, said DeGale in the immediate aftermath of his win over Dirrell.

“Since he passed, I’ve always had ‘D.S’ on my shorts and this world title is for him as well. He was a great guy, a great fighter, an unbelievable fighter. We had some great, great scraps. It’s for him.”

In the build up to Saturday’s fight, Sutherland was never far from DeGale’s thoughts with the 29 year-old desperately wanting to honour the memory of his old friend with victory, telling the Evening Standard:

“When I’m world champion it will be a way of letting him share the sort of glory he wanted, too.”

Darren Sutherland is introduced to the crowd Lorraine O'Sullivan / INPHO Lorraine O'Sullivan / INPHO / INPHO

It took Cork’s ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan a matter of minutes to become NABA champion tonight

‘I like the mentality of the Irish fighter – an aggressive style & flair outside the ring’

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.