Harry Pratt

DeGale stops Sanavia in four to retain European title

British super middleweight contender James DeGale retained his European title in quick-fire fashion, on Saturday in Frederikshavn, Denmark, securing a fourth-round technical knockout over veteran Italian Cristian Sanavia.

DeGale (12-1, 9 knockouts) did nothing wrong in his first outing since October last year, but a straightforward romp against someone definitely past their best is no statement with regards your potential to mix it among the division’s elite. Indeed, this stroll in Scandinavia represented little more than a decent sparring session.

Most had suspected EBU mandatory challenger Sanavia, 37, stood little chance of troubling the Englishman and that is exactly how it panned out at the Arena Nord. The moment 26-year-old DeGale, from west London, stepped up the pace in the fourth, the mismatch became all too apparent. He dropped one-time WBC holder Sanavia (45-6-1, 13 KOs) four times in quick succession before the referee called a halt with 14 seconds of the round left.

DeGale’s worrying lack of activity of late has been down to a difference of opinion with promoter Frank Warren as to where his future is going. However, he knows he must get busier.

“I should fight five, six times a year. Not to box for that length of time is hard. I originally thought I was going to be fighting in February,” admits the 2008 Olympic gold medallist. “Hopefully, soon, me and my team get the ball rolling again. With a couple more high-level fights, I could be boxing for a world title. That’s always been the aim.”

In fact DeGale could have been facing WBO holder Robert Stieglitz, on May 5, after his bitter rival George Groves withdrew from that title shot with injury. However, despite an invite last week to replace his unbeaten countryman, DeGale declined and stuck with Sanavia instead.

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