DeGale crushes Sanavia to retain title
James DeGale successfully defended his European super-middleweight title with a fourth round stoppage of Italian veteran Cristian Sanavia in Frederikshavn, Denmark, on Saturday night.
DeGale controlled the opening couple of rounds but a wobble after he was caught by a shot at the end of the third should arguably have been counted as a knockdown.
DeGale touched down with one glove and grabbed the ropes with the other in order to keep himself upright. But the champion regained superiority in the following round, flooring Sanavia four times.
The first knockdown looked like a slip, but when Sanavia was sent back to the canvas with a nice left-right combination it was clear he was in serious trouble.
Sanavia got to his feet but was soon down again – once more after what looked like a stumble – before DeGale emphatically brought the fight to an end.
He pinned the 37-year-old on the ropes and a thunderous body shot followed by a stiff left put Sanavia back on the ground, prompting the referee to stop the contest.
It was DeGale’s first defence of the belt he won by beating Poland’s Piotr Wilczewski on points in October and keeps him on track for a world title shot despite reportedly turning down WBO titleholder Robert Stieglitz before the fight.
It was reported that DeGale declined the opportunity to come in as a late replacement opponent for Stieglitz after archrival George Groves pulled out of their May 5 world title clash with injury.