James DeGale has booked his date with destiny and a shot at the IBF super-middleweight world title in some style at Wembley Stadium tonight, showing new-found aggression and desire to beat Brandon Gonzales after 2.38 of the fourth round.
Gonzales was definitely stopped prematurely but DeGale meant business from the first bell and attacked with pace and purpose throughout the short and sweet final eliminator, making sure the move to Matchroom was justified for the 28-year-old.
DeGale is now first in line to fight either Carl Froch or George Groves in another massive domestic-dust up later this year, giving Matchroom supremo Eddie Hearn yet another reason to be very pleased with himself on a night when a quite astonishing 80,000 people have descended on the national stadium to see a main event six months in the making.
Casual fight fans who haven't seen DeGale fighting in the relative boxing backwater of the Glow Arena in recent times will be unaware of the stark transformation he showed tonight, boxing with positivity from the very first bell.
Gonzales was never allowed to settle as DeGale dictated the action and used short, sharp shots to keep the centre of the ring throughout the first three stanzas.
The previously unbeaten American finally started to show some signs of rhythm early in the fourth round, but 'Chunky' shattered any illusions of a competitive super-middleweight showdown with a clubbing left hand straight down the middle.
A shaken Gonzales returned to his feet at the count of five and was immediately swarmed on, but still looked to have all his senses intact when referee decided otherwise with less than 20 seconds left in the round.
On a massive night for British boxing controversy is not what any of the massive swell of spectators want to be discussing, but regardless DeGale can march on to bigger and better things following his best display for quite some time.
"I'm 100% ready now for a world title shot," DeGale roared confidently just moments after 19th win of his professional career.
"I don't care who wins, I'll do both of them."
Soon enough the time will come for DeGale to back those words up, and if British boxing is to capitalise on the momentum built tonight let's hope he's ready to match that bold statement to create more moments that keep the sport firmly on the mainstream agenda.
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