Anthony Dirrell entered Friday’s 169-pound clash with Caleb Truax two fights removed from being dethroned as a champion. It didn’t take long for the 31-year-old to prove he’s still worthy of wearing the crown—and prove it he did in a big way.
Dirrell (29-1-1, 23 KOs) floored Truax (26-3-2, 16 KOs) twice in the opening round on his way to a sensational first-round technical knockout at Taj Mahal Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
“I showed, tonight, that I worked hard in the gym and it paid off. If I work like I did leading up to this fight, I know that nobody can beat me,” Anthony Dirrell said. “What helped me tonight was landing my shots early. I was right on top of him with combinations and controlling my jab, and that set the tone.”
Fighting before several relatives from his native Flint, Michigan, Dirrell showed he’s still very much a factor in the ultra-competitive 168-pound class. He came out boxing behind his jab, then saw an opening midway through the first round, pouncing on Caleb Truax with a three-punch combination. The final blow—a left hook—sent Truax to the canvas.
A native of Osseo, Minnesota, Truax made it to his feet, but he didn’t stay upright for long. This time, it was Dirrell’s vicious overhand right to the jaw that toppled his opponent.
As Truax fell to the canvas on his back, referee Harvey Dock stepped in and waved an end to the bout at the 1:49 mark.
“Everything was great leading up to the fight. I don’t know what happened tonight. He just caught me early,” Truax said. “I could have continued, but the referee stopped the fight.”
Said Dock: “After the first knockdown, I knew that he was in bad shape. I wanted to make sure that he would get himself back together. But after the second knockdown, I thought he had had enough and that it was the right time to stop it.”
While Truax lost for the second time in three contests, Dirrell won his second in a row, following September’s unanimous-decision victory over former 160-pound title challenger Marco Antonio Rubio. That came on the heels of Dirrell’s majority-decision loss to Badou Jack in April 2015—a defeat that cost Dirrell his crown in his first title defense.
After tearing through Truax, Dirrell turned to the TV cameras and immediately set his sites on avenging his only pro defeat against Jack, who defends his title tonight against former champion Lucian Bute in Washington, D.C. (Showtime, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).
“I want my rematch, Badou!” he said. “Your ass is mine.”
A second go-round with Jack wasn't the only topic on Dirrell's mind after his victory.
He and his brother, Andre—who defeated Blake Caparello by unanimous decision in the night’s main event—have teamed up with Spike TV on a fundraising effort to aid victims of Flint, Michigan's lead-poisoning water crisis. Money raised from a Crowdrise page will go to the Flint Child Health & Development Fund.
“We have to stand together,” Anthony Dirrell said about his hometown. “If we don’t stand together, everybody fails.
“I’m somebody who made it out of Flint. I have to give back to show that I’m with you guys, I have your back. We’re fighting for something. We’re fighting for Flint. Pray for Flint.”
For full coverage of Dirrell vs Truax, visit our fight page.