James DeGale MBE produced an explosive third round stoppage over Marco Antonio Periban at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
DeGale was ferocious from the office and after 30 seconds of the third round he had made the statement he promised, landing two huge lefts to render Periban unable to continue.
The Olympic gold medal winner risked his IBF mandatory spot in the bout but with champion Carl Froch watching on – and bitter rival George Groves in the ring next – the Londoner showed he has destructive power at World level.
James DeGale: “He’s never been stopped, Sakio Bika couldn’t stop him and I was only getting warmed up. That left hand is my shot at the moment. I hit him and he was stumbling around, he wasn’t in a position to carry on.
“I’ll come out and watch George Groves but don’t worry about him, I am the mandatory for the IBF title – I want to make history.
“I like Carl but it feels like he doesn’t want to fight me, I respect him but I think he’s being a bit of a coward not fighting me – fight me or vacate the title.”
Eddie Hearn: “Carl Froch is up there for Sky Sports Box Office tonight and he’s got to make a decision. The Froch fight is a great fight, the Groves fight is a great fight, but James will fight for a World title in his next fight whomever there is.”
Carl Froch: “It was a great performance by James, he was landing a lot of big shots and switching and he did the job with what was in front of him. Boxing is a business, I have a promoter and if the fight makes financial sense, it will happen. I want to fight in Las Vegas and if anyone has the right to pick and choose where they fight, it’s me.”
George Groves held onto his WBC Silver Super Middleweight title and mandatory position for the World title with a seventh round stoppage of Denis Douglin on the same bill in Liverpool.
Groves found the American a tricky customer and Douglin had early success, a cut on the bridge of the nose in the third round to Groves appeared to be a cause for concern, but Groves wore Douglin down as the ‘Momma’s Boy’ visibly tired.
A body shot hurt Douglin in the seventh and then a big right hand floored the American with 30 seconds of the round to go and referee Victor Loughlin stepped in with seconds of the round to go.
George Groves: “Paddy gave me 5 out of 10 and I will agree. Fighting a southpaw was different and was what I needed, he was a good fighter, he was good inside and I didn’t want to scrap with him inside.
“Good to get another stoppage and it roll on the big one now. I want to take the quickest route to a World title and that’s the Dirrell fight. I want to be a WC and bring a WT belt to Britain. I’ll be a World champion next year.”
Carl Froch, who stopped Groves in Manchester last November before brutally knocking him out in May at Wembley Stadium, dismissed the Londoner’s performance.
“I think he’s been Cobra’d,” said Froch. “It’s the same with Lucian Bute. He was in there struggling with a Light Middleweight, he was getting caught by shots that at World level would knock him out.
“Let DeGale and Groves fight each other and maybe I will fight the winner, but it’s a mismatch, DeGale beats Groves every day of the week.”