Caleb Truax: ‘I’d be happy to fight James DeGale again’
Newly-crowned IBF world super middleweight champion Caleb “Golden” Truax, 29-3-2 (18), has certainly made the most of his decade-long pro boxing career.
On December 9, Truax, of Osseo, Minnesota, traveled to the United Kingdom to face off with hometown favorite James DeGale, 23-2-1 (14), at the Copper Box Arena at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. To say Truax was the underdog, fighting a hard road game, would be an understatement of epic proportions.
This was Truax’s second world title shot, having been stopped by Daniel Jacobs, in 12 rounds, in April of 2015 in a bid for the WBA “regular” middleweight title.
He had also impressed in a 10-round decision loss to former world champion Jermain Taylor, in a bout that saw Truax drop Taylor late in the fight, in 2013.
These outings, along with a resume that boasted wins over tough veterans like Matt Vanda and Donovan George, among others, showed that Truax was a contender that was not to be taken lightly.
Going into his fight with DeGale, Truax was given little to no chance by most fans before the fight. He was up against a strong champion in DeGale, who was looking to rebound after drawing with former WBC titlist Badou Jack, last January. The draw against Jack came after three impressive title defenses DeGale had put in the bank against Rogelio Medina, Lucian Bute and Andre Dirrell.
Truax was a tough test and solid contender but, by all accounts, DeGale was looking for a win and then bigger fights down the line. Unfortunately for DeGale, Truax didn’t get the memo, waltzed into England and relieved DeGale of his IBF belt with a majority decision win.
UCNLive.com caught up with Truax to chat about the biggest win of his career thus far and what lies ahead for him in 2018.
Bill Tibbs: How did you feel doing into the fight?
Caleb Truax: I was confident going into the fight and really motivated as I felt this would be my last title shot. Most guys don’t get one world title shot, let alone two. I knew that I had to make the most of the opportunity. I knew I was the underdog but that didn’t bother my team or me. We felt very confident going into the fight.
BT: Did you change anything in your training routine or preparation?
CT: My coaches, my promoter, my team, they had studied the best opponents that DeGale had faced and mapped out a great plan for the fight. Once they told me that I had the opportunity, I trusted 100% in the plan they came up with for the fight and I was confident going into the fight. We trained for seven weeks, not quite as long as you’d like but we had enough time to prepare. I only got over there the week of the fight. I would have liked to get over a couple of weeks before but overall training was great.
BT: Has there been any talk yet about who you are looking at for your first title defense? Is DeGale a mandatory rematch?
CT: DeGale isn’t the mandatory but a rematch is being talked about right now. I don’t have any particular fighter in the division that I am looking at. I just want the fight that makes the most sense financially but I will fight whomever. I’d be happy to fight DeGale again but if it is another fighter then I’ll be ready for them too.
BT: Have you been given a time frame as to when your next fight will happen?
CT: I think we’re looking at the spring, maybe April? I’m already working on maintaining my conditioning; I’m back in the gym. I came out of the DeGale fight without any injuries, so I am ready to start getting ready again for whatever fight is next.
BT: What was the reaction back home?
CT: Reaction in Minnesota has been great. I would love to make my first title defense back here; that would be great. I’d love to bring a world title fight to Minnesota. My family and friends have all been on Cloud Nine with me on this win. The media has been great. The local media and the media back in England have all been doing interviews and it has been great.
BT: You have been with the same team for your whole career.
CT: Yes, not a lot of guys do that in boxing but I have. I trust them 100%. My promoter from Seconds Out Promotions is Tony Grygelko and he has been my promoter since Day One. My trainer is Tom Halstead and my cutman is Jim Maurine. My manager is Ron Lyke and I train at his gym ACR Boxing. I have a great team and I have been with them my whole career and I feel very confident with them. They all came up with a great plan for the DeGale fight and, because of that, my confidence going into the fight was great. Everybody thought I was the underdog but my team and I didn’t.
BT: Winning the world title, especially as the underdog, was great but you must be getting excited for that first title defense.
CT: Well, people say it is harder to keep the belt than win it, not that it’s easy to win it. But I know now, as a champion, I have a bullseye on my back and every contender or champion is gunning for you. If I fight DeGale next, then I’ll train hard and I know he’ll be ready and he’ll up his game. He won’t be looking past me this time but I’ll be training very hard and I’ll be upping my game also. As I said before, I’d love to bring the first title defense back to Minnesota but if I have to go back to England, assuming I am fighting DeGale, I have no problem with that either. I beat him before and I will do it again.