James DeGale announces retirement from boxing

James DeGale was beaten by Chris Eubank Jr. in a fight DeGale described as a 'retirement fight for the loser'. Photo courtesy of Lawrence Lustig

Former world champion and Olympic gold medalist James DeGale has announced his retirement from boxing, stating he is 'proud to have made history.'

DeGale's decision comes 10 years to the day since making his professional debut, but he has now decided to hang up the gloves after suffering a unanimous points defeat against Chris Eubank Jr. at the weekend.

"Today marks ten years since my professional debut fight and today is the day I am announcing my retirement from boxing," DeGale said in a statement.

"It's been an unbelievable journey and I've had an amazing decade -- if I'm honest, the best years of my life -- and having started boxing at the age of nine then being selected as part of the England Amateurs squad, I've collected many memories along the way.

"It hard to admit that I'm not the fighter I once was, but I'm human and along the way, my injuries have taken a toll -- both on mind and body and these things have contributed to impact my performance in the ring."

The Londoner has twice reigned as the IBF super middleweight champion -- winning the belt for the first time against Andre Dirrell in Boston. He retained it over two punishing contests against Lucian Bute and Rogelio Medina, but a draw in a destructive unification contest with Badou Jack in Brooklyn two years ago saw DeGale receive serious injuries.

In his attempt to take Jack's WBC belt, DeGale was knocked down, lost a tooth and suffered a deviated septum that prevented him breathing through his left nostril.

A problematic shoulder also blighted DeGale's career with the damage only noticed after that brutal contest with Jack. He went under the knife, leaving him out of the ring for almost a year before a shock defeat to little-known American Caleb Truax in London.

DeGale avenged that defeat in a rematch in Las Vegas early in 2018 to become a two-time world champion, but it was clear the southpaw was past his best. One more victory against Fidel Monterrosa Munoz followed before being outfought by Eubank Jr.

His record ends with 25 victories, three defeats and one draw.

"I lost the fight on Saturday at The O2 but I'm touched to have a good send off from the fans in my home city," DeGale added.

"The day after the fight, someone said to me that one fight does not determine a legacy.

"Looking back, if someone had told me at the start of my boxing career, when I was in the England squad, that I would become an Olympic gold medalist, British and European champion and two-time world champion, I would never have believed them, but I did it and I'd like to think I did it the clean, honest and hard way with discipline and respect to the sport I love.

"A majority of the greats go out on loss and for me, it's time to hang up the gloves and to move on with my head held high."

DeGale won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and went on to become the first ever British Olympian boxer to go on to win a world title in the professional ranks -- a feat since repeated by IBF-WBA-WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.