Born to a black Grenadian father and a white British mother, DeGale started amateur boxing at the Trojan club at the age of 10 before moving to Dale Youth boxing club. As a boy he soon acquired the nickname "Chunky", a name that has followed him throughout his career. The predominantly southpaw Londoner fights as a switch hitter. At the Commonwealth Games 2006 he won Bronze when he lost to Jarrod Fletcher.
DeGale has stated on numerous occasions that he is a big Arsenal fan and frequently fights with the Arsenal F.C. Club logo on his robe and shorts.
Amateur record: 79–16.
DeGale represented Great Britain at the 2008 Summer Olympics in the Middleweight boxing event, winning the gold medal. In the quarter finals he beat a former Olympic gold medalist from Athens (Bakhtiyar Artayev) and in the semi-final once again beat the late Irishman Darren Sutherland (prior to this latest meeting the boxers had fought five times with Sutherland winning four and DeGale only one). In the final DeGale won a scrappy and bad tempered affair against the Cuban Emilio Correa who was docked two points in the first round for biting DeGale's shoulder.
2007 (as a middleweight)Lost to Alfonso Blanco (Venezuela) 13–28
2008Defeated Mohamed Hikal (Egypt) 13–4
Defeated Shawn Estrada (USA) 11–5
Defeated Bakhtiyar Artayev (Kazakhstan) 8–3
Defeated Darren Sutherland (Ireland) 10–3
Defeated Emilio Correa (Cuba) 16–14
On 2 December 2008, he agreed a deal with promoter Frank Warren to become professional along with Frankie Gavin and Billy Joe Saunders. The contract agreed was rumoured to be worth around £1.5 million.
DeGale was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours.
On 28 February 2009 DeGale made his professional debut against Vepkhia Tchilaia, winning a points decision by 40–36. DeGale received a mixed reaction from the crowd, who booed him after being taken the distance by his little-known opponent. However, DeGale was also backed by others in attendance, as Tchilaia chose to box extremely defensively. Five more victories followed before DeGale won his first regional championship, the WBA International super-middleweight title, stopping Sam Horton in five rounds. On 18 September 2010, DeGale made the first defence of his title against Carl Dilks, winning by stoppage near the end of the first round.
Frank Warren revealed that DeGale would challenge Paul Smith for the British super-middleweight title on Warren's blockbuster event in Liverpool, which was set for 11 December 2010 at the Echo Arena. The bill included fellow Olympians Frankie Gavin and Billy Joe Saunders, as well as Nathan Cleverly and Kell Brook. DeGale went on to defeat Smith via ninth-round stoppage to become the British super-middleweight champion.
On 17 March 2011, Frank Warren announced that DeGale would defend his British title against fellow Dale Youth Boxing Club graduate and Commonwealth champion George Groves at The O2 on 21 May. Groves had previously held a majority decision win over DeGale in the amateurs. DeGale suffered his first professional loss Groves, in what was seen as a very close fight. The judges scored the bout 115–115, 115–114, 115–114; a majority decision. Groves, who believed he proved many critics wrong, welcomed the idea of a rematch in the future, "I will fight him again. Yeah if everything is all right and it's the right way. But now I have beaten him twice." DeGale had a look of disbelief when the decision was announced.
DeGale was scheduled to return to action in September 2011 to challenge Polish boxer Piotr Wilczewski for his European super-middleweight title. DeGale returned on 15 October 2011 to defeat Wilczewski when one judge scored the bout 114-114, and the other two scored it 115-113 in favour of DeGale, giving him the majority decision to win the European title. DeGale started well winning the early rounds. He slowed down his work rate before immediately picking it back up during the sixth and seventh rounds. In February 2012, DeGale signed a sponsorship deal with Bulk Powders sport supplements. DeGale took six months out before fighting Italian boxer Cristian Sanavia on 21 April 2012 and successfully defending his European title in Denmark. DeGale dropped Sanavia 3 times in round 4, forcing the referee stoppage. At the time of stoppage, Degale was ahead on all three judges cards 29-28, 30-27, 29-28. On 13 October, DeGale went the 12 round distance against 32 year old French super-middleweight champion Hadillah Mohoumadi and retained his EBU title. This was DeGales first fight under new promoter Mick Hennessy. The final judges scorecards read 119-109, 117-111 and 116-112 all in favour of DeGale.
On 8 December 2012, DeGale outpointed 35-year-old Colombian fringe contender Fulgencio Zúñiga (25-6-1, 20 KOs) in a 12 round bout to win the vacant WBC Silver super-middleweight title. Zúñiga was dropped in round 3 but beat the count. When DeGale looked to attack and go for the stoppage, the referee inadvertently separated the boxers because he thought the bell sounded to end the round. All three judges scored the fight 118-109 for DeGale. On 17 May 2013 DeGale knocked out 33 year old Canadian boxer Sébastien Demers in the second round in a non-title fight. The fight took place in Gatineau, Quebec in Canada. Prior to this fight, Demers had not fought since 2011 and took the fight on a weeks notice. DeGale returned to the UK a month later on 8 June to defend his WBC Silver title against 38-year-old Stjepan Božić (26-6, 17 KO’s) at Bluewater in Greenhithe, Kent. Božić's corner pulled him out before round five started after he was taking too much punishment. In the post-fight, DeGale said he wanted to next fight then IBF super-middleweight champion Carl Froch.
DeGale made two more successful defences of his WBC Silver title, the first came in November 2013 against American boxer Dyah Davis. DeGale won via unanimous decision all three judges scoring it 118-110 in his favour. His final defence came on 1 March 2014 at the City Academy Sports Centre in Bristol against undefeated Gevorg Khatchikian (20-0, 8 KOs). The fight was broadcast live on Channel 5. After 10 dominant rounds, which saw DeGale struggle to find the finishing blow, he dropped Khatchikian twice on round 11 to end the fight. Prior to the fight, DeGale was ordered to fight mandatory challenger Badou Jack by the WBC, however Jack suffered defeat to Dereck Edwards in a first round stoppage a few days earlier. With this win, DeGale became the mandatory challenger to WBC world champion Sakio Bika.
On 10 April 2014, DeGale signed a promotional deal with Matchroom Sport. DeGale made his first appearance under Matchroom on the undercard of the Carl Froch and George Groves rematch at Wembley Stadium on 31 May 2014. He stopped opponent Brandon Gonzáles in the 4th round.
DeGale's second fight under the Matchroom banner took place at the Echo Arena in Liverpool on 22 November 2014 against former WBC world title challenger Marco Antonio Peribán (20-2-1, 13 KOs). The fight took place on the undercard of the Nathan Cleverly vs. Tony Bellew rematch on Sky Box Office. DeGale admitted this was his toughest fight to date and most important as a defeat could end his world title pursuit. DeGale became the first boxer to stop Peribán, when the fight was halted in round 3. DeGale landed two lefts, 30 seconds into the round and Peribán was unable to continue. Soon after the fight was stopped, DeGale called out Froch, labeling him a coward for not fighting him.
In February 2015, Carl Froch vacated the IBF title, due to injury, paving the way for DeGale to fight for the title against the next available challenger. The next available challenger was American boxer Andre Dirrell (24-1, 16 KOs). A deal was complete for the two boxers to fight for the vacant title on 23 May 2015 at the Agganis Arena in Boston, Massachusetts. DeGale beat Dirrell by unanimous decision to win the vacant IBF super-middleweight title. Two judges scored the fight 114-112 and the third judge score it wider at 117-109, all in favour of DeGale. ESPN also scored the fight 114-112. Dirrell was knocked down twice in the second round. As the fight progressed, DeGale seemed to slower down his work rate, due to being fatigued. He managed to hold on until the end. According to Compubox punch stats, DeGale landed 115 of 400 punches thrown (29%), compared to Dirrell who landed 111 of 488 thrown (23%). DeGale was pleased to become the first British Olympic gold medalist to win a world title.
It was announced in mid-2015 that DeGale would make his first IBF super-middleweight title defence against Romanian boxer and former world champion Lucian Bute. On 28 November 2015 at the Videotron Centre in Quebec, Canada, DeGale defeated Bute via unanimous decision. The fight was considered close, but DeGale did enough to earn comfortable scores of (116-112, 117-111 and 117-111). Bute admitted he gave it best effort, but wasn't enough. DeGale was able to block his punches and land the type of punches that would win him rounds. DeGale acknowledged Bute in the post fight, "All credit to Lucian Bute. He's a great champion and, believe me, he will be back." When asked about a possible unification fight against Badou Jack, DeGale said he would like to fight him in April 2016.
On 15 Feb, 2016 it was announced that DeGale would make second defence of his IBF title against mandatory challenger Rogelio 'Porky' Medina (36-6, 30 KOs), with the fight to take place on 30 April at the DC Armory in Washington, DC. DeGale was originally supposed to fight mandatory Jose Uzcategui, however Uzcategui suffered an illness. DeGale outpointed Medina in a harder than expected fight. DeGale won on all three judges scorecards (117-111, 116-112 and 115-113). The fight averaged of 342,000 viewers and peaked at 397,000 on Showtime. Badou Jack also retained his WBC title with a draw against Lucian Bute, which was later changed to a DQ win for Jack, to set up a unification fight next.
Showtime Boxing confirmed that a unification fight between DeGale and WBC champion Badou Jack (20-1-2, 12 KOs) was set for January 14, 2017. The fight was supposed to be announced for the autumn of 2016, however it had taken a little longer for the negotiations to complete. The vacant The Ring title would also be at stake as well as the WBC and IBF titles. On November 15, it was officially confirmed that the fight would take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The first time both fighters would be fighting at the arena.
In front of a crowd of 10,128, DeGale retained his IBF title but failed to capture the WBC and vacant Ring title after the match ended in a majority draw. Judge Glenn Feldman scored it 114-112 for DeGale and judges Julie Lederman and Steve Weisfeld both scored it 113-113 draw. DeGale knocked Jack down once in round 1 with a left hand. DeGale also hit the canvas for the first time in his professional career when Jack knocked him down with a right hook to the head in round 12. DeGale lost a tooth during the fight and damaged his eardrum. Post-fight Jack's promoter Floyd Mayweather Jr, complained about the result saying his fighter had done enough to win and calling the decision "bad for boxing." When DeGale said he wanted a rematch possibly in London, Jack stated he would do it at light heavyweight, with Mayweather also saying Jack has gone too big for super-middleweight. DeGale's purse for the fight was $750,000, while Jack made $700,000. According to CompuBox, Jack landed 231 of 745 punches thrown, a connect rate of 31%, more than DeGale, who landed 172 of 617, connect rate of 28%. The fight averaged 454,000 viewers on Showtime.
In March 2017, DeGale wrote to the IBF and was granted medical exemption, as he was due to fight a mandatory next. The exemption meant he would next fight in Summer 2017.
DeGale vs. TBA
After recovering from a shoulder injury, on 20 September 2017, DeGale stated that he was looking to return to the ring in December 2017. He aims to start punching again by the end of the month and begin sparring in October.