Eubank Jr wins back former IBO world title
DeGale dropped twice in 'retirement fight'
Chris Eubank Jr (28-2) landed the biggest win of his career to leave James DeGale's (25-3-1) future in the balance with a unanimous points victory at London's O2 Arena.
In a contest which struggled to find a flow, Eubank Jr forced a count in round two after a stinging left hook took the Olympic champion off his feet.
Two-time world champion DeGale boxed tentatively from range but paid in the 10th when a close-range left hook sent him reeling and forced another count.
The North Londoner never threatened a stoppage and the cards rightfully read 114-112, 115-112, 117-109 in favour of the Brighton boxer.
"I'm back where I need to be - at the top of the food chain and now I'm coming for all the other belts in the super-middleweight division," Eubank Jr, 29, declared.
DeGale, 33, held his hand aloft as the scores were read out but he was well beaten by his fellow Englishman and, having stated he would likely retire if he lost, his future is now uncertain.
However, he hasn't completely settled on retirement yet, "I'm going to go back, talk to my team and talk to my family," he said. "I've been to the heights of boxing, I've won an Olympic gold medal, won the world title twice, made history and I've boxed the best around the world. I've left my mark in boxing."
The Beijing 2008 Olympic champion showed swift movement in patches but his single shots from range were overwhelmed by flurries of activity and higher output from Eubank Jr.
DeGale showed heart to try to keep his feet after left hooks opened him up in the second and 10th rounds, and he somehow stayed upright again after another left hook found its target in the final round.
The margin of victory even accounted for a point deduction Eubank Jr was handed in the 11th round when, shortly after landing a devastating uppercut, he picked his rival up on his shoulder in a grapple and threw him to the canvas.
In his first contest under the guidance of trainer Nate Vasquez, Eubank Jr showed more patience than in previous elite-level fixtures and, aside from a brief lull around the midway point, always looked the more dangerous of the two.
The Brighton fighter answered criticism in performing under pressure having been exposed in defeats to George Groves and Billy Joe Saunders.
He insisted he had "made a statement", while his father - former two-weight world champion Chris Eubank Sr - said he was "ecstatic" having admitted he was "not convinced" his son would win in the build-up.
Eubank Jr revealed, "I've been working on my jabs, he is a very slick southpaw but the game plan worked, smart pressure, not getting too ahead of myself, picking my shots and choosing my time to attack.
"I dominated pretty much every round. He is a hell of a skilled fighter but my heart and tenacity got me there. A lot of people said I was going to get my head jabbed off and not stand with a proven boxer. It was the most important fight of my career and I've made the statement. It is belt season, it is collection season."
DeGale added, "Chris is tough, he is a good prospect, he was on it. I just didn't do enough. There were a lot of wild punches, punches I didn't see. He was nicking the rounds and I have to go back and watch it. I just didn't do enough."
On the undercard, Lee Selby defeated Omar Douglas on points despite cuts above both eyes; Joe Joyce was impressive in a six-round stoppage of former world titleholder Bermane Stiverne; and debutant Chez Nihell got of the mark in his pro career with a points win.