After coming up short Saturday in his second attempt at a 168-pound world title, Andre Dirrell was still a winner when he arrived home Sunday.
His three children—9-year-old daughter Anaijah, 7-year-old son Andre Jr. and 3-year-old son Ayden—created a championship belt for their father that was filled with superlatives and adorned with a heart and smiley face.
“I was feeling down about the whole thing, but my kids found a way to lift my spirits up again,” Andre Dirrell said. “They were there as soon as I walked through the door. I was happy to see what they had made for their father, along with the cupcakes and big note on one of the work boards that we have in our house. I was happy to see that I’m such an inspiration to them. That keeps me going.”
Dirrell (24-2, 16 KOs) was floored twice in the second round en route to losing a unanimous decision to James DeGale (21-1, 14 KOs) at Boston's Agganis Arena in a fight that aired in the afternoon on NBC.
“My kids are usually asleep by the time that I fight, but they watched this one,” Dirrell said. “They didn’t say anything about the fight. They just said, ‘I love you, Daddy.’”
Dirrell was fighting for a world title for the first time since losing a split decision to Carl Froch in Nottingham, England, in October 2010. He had especially hoped to bring home the championship after his younger brother, Anthony, lost his 168-pound world title to Badou Jack in April.
“It was a tough loss, and I totally understand I’ll just have to take it, but I’m up for a rematch,” Dirrell said. “DeGale might want it in England, and I'm willing to go over there and fight him for it. I'm ready to fight yesterday. I want to get back in the gym in about three weeks, and then be back in the ring in the next four months. I definitely want a rematch. I’m eyeing that all the way.”
Dirrell said he thought he did enough in the ring after the early knockdowns to overtake DeGale and earn the decision.
“I kept boxing. I made sure that I gritted it out and stayed on top of my game. I felt like I was dictating the pace the entire time and that I was actually connecting. It wasn’t like he was catching me all night long,” says Dirrell, who was outlanded 115-111 in total punches and 83-65 in power punches.
“I was going forward and catching him with shots. I thought that I won every round after the third or fourth except maybe the 11th. My whole team thought that I won the fight. My biggest concern was that it was a draw. We all thought that worse-case scenario, it would be a draw.”
For the full recap, including photos and videos, visit our Dirrell vs DeGale fight page.