IBF Super Middleweight Champion Caleb "Golden" Truax shocked the boxing world when he defeated then champion James DeGale last December in London to claim his world title.
Now, Truax prepares for an equally difficult task as he is set to defend the title in a rematch against DeGale Saturday, April 7 live on Showtime from Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
The Premier Boxing Champions event is headlined by Erislandy Lara, the longest reigning world champion at 154-pounds, clashing with undefeated champion Jarrett Hurd in a highly anticipated 154-pound world title unification bout.
The Showtime Championship Boxing telecast begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and features Julian Williams and Nathaniel Gallimore meeting in a 154-pound world title eliminator.
The Osseo, Minnesota-native was a significant underdog when he went on the road to the U.K. to challenge DeGale in his return from a shoulder injury. Truax was able to overcome his perceived disadvantages by seemingly catching DeGale off-guard and under prepared, something that he believes could happen again on April 7.
"I think DeGale overlooked me last time and I think he's doing it again this time," said Truax. "I see him already talking about fighting David Benavidez and George Groves. Did he not learn his lesson the first time?
"I think his injury talk is an excuse as well. He said his arm and shoulder felt fine heading into and immediately after the fight last December. I don't believe any of that injury talk. It means nothing to me."
Truax put his small hometown in Minnesota on the boxing map with his championship-winning victory, but hasn't let any newfound recognition change his routine or demeanor.
"The reaction here in Minnesota has been fantastic ever since I returned from London," said Truax. "Everybody at home has shown me so much love. I've definitely been busier than I used to be, and I suppose that comes with the territory, but I still stay pretty low-key.
"I have my routine and I love just being with my two-year-old daughter and the rest of my family and friends. Overall I've just tried to stay true to who I am and live the same lifestyle."
A graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in Sociology, Truax is currently carrying the mantle for the Minnesota boxing scene and hopes that his victory can inspire it to grow. Truax is just the third Minnesota-born fighter to win a world title.
"Me capturing this world title has been huge for our boxing community here," said Truax. "I was the first guy since Will Grigsby in the 2000s to do it. There haven't been many champions from here and people are excited to have another homegrown champion again. Hopefully this will get more people around here into gyms and the sport of boxing."
Truax is now deep into training to prove that he has staying power as a champion by defeating DeGale for a second time.
"The great thing about the last fight is that I came out of it with no injuries," said Truax. "I was back in the gym before Christmas. Normally I only have about six weeks to prepare for an opponent. But this time around, we knew who we were coming back for and had a long time to prepare.
"We're working on adjustments that we expect he's making and things he's probably doing to get better. We'll see what he comes up with on fight night but it'll be up to me to counter."
With more time in training camp to prepare, the champion will look to improve on his impressive first performance and make another statement to the boxing world.
"I plan on applying pressure and seeing how he reacts," said Truax. "If he doesn't' adjust, then I don't see it going any different than the first fight. I'm real confident I'm going to stop James DeGale this time."
Tickets for the show, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Mayweather Promotions, are on sale now and available by visiting AXS.com or the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas Box Office.