Caleb Truax is the new IBF super middleweight champion of the world after a surprising upset win over James DeGale. Truax went into the fight facing long odds, some as wide as 100-1, but at the end of twelve rounds, the judges saw the fight in his favor. With the win, Truax is now in a position to land some very big fights in 2018.
In part 1 of my “On The Ropes” interview with Caleb Truax, I talk with him about his upset win over DeGale and get his thoughts on his chances going into the fight. Truax also shares his views on DeGale as a fighter and talks about his own mindset going into the last few rounds. Additionally, Caleb speaks on the decision and talks about the moment he was announced as a world champion. Here is what Caleb Truax had to say.
Jenna J: You went over to England to take on James DeGale, not many people gave you a shot to win the fight. What dd you think of your chances going over there before the fight?
Caleb Truax: I was very confident. I wouldn’t have taken the fight if I didn’t believe I could have won, I’m not going to travel that far just to lay down. I was very confident in my team and I was very confident in myself, and that’s all that matters.
Jenna J: You said that if it came down to just a boxing match, he would have beat you on boxing but you had to make it a fight. What did you think about his skills in there?
Caleb Truax: I expected a little bit more from him, but at the same time, I negated everything he wanted to do. I knew if I were to stay on the outside and try to box with him, he would have the advantage because he’s pretty slick and pretty crafty, and has more experience than me at the top level. The gameplan that my coach drew up worked to a tee. I was able to negate his length and his craftiness and just stay inside and keep pushing him back and keep him up against the ropes. As you saw, it worked.
Jenna J: You stunned him several times in the fight, did you think you had a chance to stop him at any point?
Caleb Truax: Yeah I thought I had him stopped in the fifth round. I give him credit because I hit him with some huge shots, a couple of really big uppercuts and overhand rights. He showed some champions resolve, that’s for sure. A lot of people would have gone down there because I can hit pretty good, especially if I’m getting five or six punches on the target in a row. He withstood it and kept fighting.
Jenna J: How were you feeling when you were going into the championship rounds? Did you feel that you had to win those last few rounds to get the decision?
Caleb Truax: I was feeling good, I was starting to get a little bit fatigued just from putting all the pressure on him. As far as the scorecards go, I felt like I was ahead wide enough to where they weren’t going to be able to take it from me.
I know the eleventh round was pretty close but I think the tenth round I beat him up pretty good and I think I got the best of the twelfth round too. I felt that it was wide enough in my mind to warrant a pretty decisive victory but when they announced that first card saying it was a draw, I started to get a little nervous.
Jenna J: The first card was a draw and your team started getting excited after the next two cards were read. Did your team have an indication that the fight was going your way?
Caleb Truax: I felt the same way because the second scorecard was 115-112 and I figured the only way they could come to that is if they gave me a 10-8 round in the fifth round, so it would have been 7-5, minus one point for the 10-8 round. I used my Minnesota math there on the spot and figured I had it after that.
Jenna J: How did it feel to be announced as a world champion?
Caleb Truax: It’s something that every fighter dreams of. Even before I was a part of boxing, anytime the announcer says, “and new” it just gives me goosebumps. To be on the receiving end of that is just crazy. It’s probably the second best feeling in my life outside of having my daughter being born. It was pure joy and I was so happy that my team was able to celebrate it with me because they’ve all been with me since day one and we’ve had a lot of ups and downs. They all work very hard to get me to where I’m at, so it was just joy.