Andre Dirrell still feeling like a champ after losing to James DeGale

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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.

Andre Dirrell and James DeGale

Andre Dirrell stormed back Saturday after James DeGale knocked him down twice in Round 2, but it wasn't enough to earn the victory. (Suzanne Teresa/Premier Boxing Champions)

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.

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