Degale wins boxing gold for Great Britain
Saturday 23 August 2008
Two days after promising he would bore his way to Olympic gold, James Degale was lured into the fight of his life to claim the middleweight title after an epic battle at the Workers' Stadium.
Degale outpointed Emilio Correa 16-14 after a four-round war in which the Cuban almost drew level only for the flashy Londoner to keep his nerve and prevail in nail-biting fashion.
Degale sank to his knees at the final bell then showboated with the Union Jack draped around his shoulders, relishing the boos of the Chinese crowd who had backed the Cuban to win.
Degale had reached his Olympic final after three performances of slick, hit and move amateur boxing which exploited the scoring system to a tee and vowed to continue his elusive path all the way to the title.
And it seemed like business as usual as Degale made a superb start, firing two left hands and consistently making his cruder opponent miss. With the Cuban penalised for hitting on the break, Degale was 6-1 up after the first.
With the bout slipping away from him, Correa became more wild, looking to lure Degale into a fight, but for the time being the British man stayed out of danger and a superb left hook helped him reach the half-way stage with a 9-4 lead.
With Correa becoming more desperate, he had more success luring Degale into his kind of fight, and the Londoner's mounting frustrations told when he was penalised for holding in third, which he ended with his lead cut to 11-8.
It set up a wild finish with the Cuban digging in with rights and Degale responding with shots of his own to just about maintain the advantage as the clock ticked down towards his Olympic triumph.
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