With 22 knockouts in 28 fights, Anthony Dirrell came into Friday night’s fight with Badou Jack at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago with a well-deserved reputation for put-'em-to-sleep power. But for 12 rounds, the Sweden-born Jack was able to stymie Dirrell’s biggest asset and get out with a narrow majority decision to hand Dirrell the upset, and his first career loss.
After a tentative first round, Dirrell (27-1-1, 22 KOs) started fighting with aggression and authority, even though it was Jack (19-1-1, 12 KOs) who was marching his foe around the ring. He switched southpaw in the fourth, unloading huge shots—particularly with overhand rights that came over Jack’s guard—but none that seemed to hurt his 31-year-old opponent.
Jack took over in the middle rounds, firing jabs with deadly precision. Anthony Dirrell was trying to work the counter, but couldn’t beat Jack to the punch. Dirrell came out like a man who knew he was behind in the 11th and 12th, unloading where he could, but Jack continued to force Dirrell into the ropes, fighting effectively inside.
Judge Robert Hecko had it as a 114-114 draw, but Rey Danseco saw a 115-113 advantage for Jack, and Hubert Minn called it 116-112 to give Jack the majority decision.
After some scuffling at the weigh-in Thursday, Jack wasn’t intimidated by Dirrell’s podium aggression—or his status.
“I told him I ain’t scared of no barking,” Jack said. “That was his brother and his people barking. They can’t fight for him.”
If Dirrell has his way, though, this won’t be the last time the two of them step in the ring against each other.
“He fought a good fight and I want a rematch,” he said after the fight. View complete Dirrell vs Jack coverage.