At the age of 32, Jamel is a five-year pro. A contender at 130 pounds, he moved down in weight in his last fight after competing at 135 pounds for the first five years of his career. He was an amateur standout before his debut – Jamel was the captain of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team and competed in London at 141 pounds.
He is also a former U.S. Marine – he served nine years in the Marine Corps, with two tours in Iraq.
In his last fight on May 12 in New York, Jamel won by fifth-round TKO against Juan Pablo Sanchez.
ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael reported from ringside [excerpts]: Jamel Herring won his first fight since signing with Top Rank in January as he stopped Juan Pablo Sanchez, of Mexico, in the fifth round.
An accidental head butt opened a cut over Herring’s right eye in the second round and by the fourth round the blood was streaming down his face.
But Herring didn’t seem to be bothered by the blood, and in the fifth round he unloaded on Sanchez. He blasted him with a sustained flurry, including two big left hands that rocked him badly along the ropes, causing [the] referee to intervene at 1 minute, 28 seconds. Herring was ahead 40-36 on all three scorecards at the time of the stoppage.
“It felt great to be back in the ring. To get a stoppage against a guy who hasn’t been stopped since 2012, it’s a great feeling,” Herring said. “The Marines, we love blood. When we smell blood, even if it’s our own, we’re going to go for the kill. I had to because he was coming for me. I showed a little bit of boxing. I showed I could stand there and brawl. I showed everything.” [End Rafael item]
Jamel said [Sept. 6], “By the time I get in the ring, I’ve actually been in training camp for nine weeks. We started training at the B&B Boxing gym in Omaha, and now we’re finishing up in Colorado Springs at the Triple Threat Gym. We all started in Omaha and finish in Colorado Springs, me, Bud Crawford, Steven Nelson. We usually try to split it – four weeks there, four weeks here.
“I’ve been sparring with Bud, so that’s been good work, and I’ve been sparring with Steven Nelson, as well, also Kevin Ventura. I’ve also been sparring with Jonathan Steele, a fellow Marine. I came up in the amateurs with him, and there’s some others that I can’t even remember. I’ve been sparring with a lot of different styles and a lot of good athletes.
“I’m moving down to 130 in this fight. I never had a problem making weight at 135. I’m working with the great nutritionist and strength coach, so we figured that with my frame and everything – I usually walk around at 145 – we figured with a little more work, I could make 130. In my last fight I weighed-in at 132, the lowest I’ve weighed in as a pro, and I was able to stop a guy that hadn’t been stopped in a long time. He fought a lot of good prospects like Teofimo Lopez, who we all know, and others. I was able to get down to a weight class, a weight I hadn’t fought at as a pro, and I felt strong, I felt good.
“I watch videos of my opponent every night. I’m an old-school student of the game, I do believe in tape study. I give him credit, he has a decent record. I respect and give anybody credit who steps in the ring. But you know my resume and the people I fought – a lot tougher guys. And I’m training with one of the best in the world, pound-for-pound, Terence Crawford.
“I believe that my mentality and my will, and working with my new team, is going to give me a victory in this fight.
“In Moralde’s last fight against Muwendo, I think the knockdowns made the difference. I also sparred with Muwendo a few times.
“I believe Moralde doesn’t have the tank and the stamina to go a full 10 rounds. If you look at his last fight, it was an eight-round fight and he barely got to the last bell standing on his feet.
“I’ve had 10-round wars with people like Shafikov and I had to stick it out and keep pushing forward.
“So, like I said, I believe my will and my mentality are my main strengths.
“I’m just excited and I’m grateful to be where I’m at. I’m loving my new team on the boxing side, and my new team here with Top Rank. They see my vision in wanting to push the military brand a lot more.
“I’m just ready to get in there.”
In an earlier interview, Jamel said, “I love when my military background is acknowledged because that means a lot to me. My two tours in Iraq, that means a lot to me, as well – just being a veteran, being able to fight for my country not only in the Olympics but also overseas. Those are great things that I really honor and respect.
“Right now, I live in Cincinnati, Ohio. I moved here when I got out of the Marine Corps.
“I’m a pure boxer, but I’ve learned how to work on the inside. Because if you watch some of my fights in the amateurs, all you had to really do is box.
“But purely, I’m just a boxer. I like to move and use my legs a lot.
“My nickname is ‘Semper Fi’ – it’s basically short for Semper Fidelis, a Marine Corps term.” [note: Semper Fidelis is Latin for “Always Faithful”]
AMATEUR, PERSONAL BACKGROUND: Jamel said, “I was born in Rockville Centre, New York, but I was raised my whole life in Coram, New York. I have two brothers and two sisters, and I’m the oldest. My mother is a nurse, and my father works in construction. There are no other boxers in the family – just me!
“I was 15 years old when I first started boxing. I had a close friend, and his father was a trainer. When I was a kid he always asked me and nagged me to come to the gym, but I wasn’t really into boxing. I was more into team sports, like basketball, football, and things like that. As a kid, when I thought of boxing, I thought of the Rocky movies – I seen all the punishment that they would take and I thought, ‘I don’t know about that.’
“But after a while, he came by and told me how much fun it was, so I gave it a try one day and I stuck to it for good.
“I’m naturally left-handed. I had about 92 amateur fights altogether. I think I had about 14 losses. When I joined the Marine Corps in 2003, I had to take a little break from boxing, so I didn’t get back into it until 2006, for a year. Then the Marine Corps deployed me back to Iraq again in 2007, then I came back in 2008 and started boxing again, until today.
“I did nine years in the Marine Corps. I enlisted a couple of weeks before my 18th birthday, and I got out in November, 2013. I did two tours in Iraq. I was a basic field electrician.
“I got remarried September 26, 2015. My wife’s name is Jennifer Herring. She has a daughter, who is basically my daughter. Her name is Kamren Herring, she’s 14. [dob: 8-26-04] I got a house full of girls! Jazmyne is my five-year-old daughter [dob: 7-23-13], and Justice is my one-year-old daughter. [dob: 2-24-17] I also have two sons – Junior is eight years old [dob: 4-29-10] and Stephen is 11. [dob: 8-6-07] I had another daughter, Ariyanah, but she had passed away from SIDS in 2009.”…
2012 OLYMPIC GAMES – London, England, 141 pounds: in his first fight on 7-31-12 he lost a 19-9 decision against Daniyar Yeleussinov of Kazakhstan…
The Associated Press’ Greg Beacham reported from ringside [excerpts]: Before U.S. Marine Sgt. Jamel Herring stepped into the Olympic boxing ring for the first time, he gave a soldier’s salute to his cheering teammates. Then he thought about his late daughter and said a quick prayer, giving thanks for the strength to reach the ring after a decade of struggle.
And although his opening-round loss hurt, Herring has survived rougher times.
Daniyar Yeleussinov of Kazakhstan ended Herring’s Olympic aspirations with a 19-9 victory in their light welterweight bout.
Herring couldn’t keep up with Yeleussinov, whose aggression and quick hands repeatedly got Herring in trouble during the first two rounds. Yeleussinov mostly spent the third round avoiding exchanges, but Herring couldn’t score enough points for a comeback.
Even in defeat, his voice nearly cracking at times, Herring remained clear-eyed and strong.
“It’s a great honor to be here,” Herring said afterward, sweat still beaded on his shoulders. “Everyone, especially back at home, knows what I’ve been through.”
Just getting into the ring was another triumph for Herring, who served two tours of duty in Iraq as a field electrician, dodging roadside bombs and hoping to return home to his growing family, which now includes two sons.
The Long Island native enlisted in a patriotic fervor about a year after the Sept. 11 attacks, but he also found escape in boxing, his intermittent pastime throughout his life.
With the demands of family and a military career, he considered giving up the sport multiple times, particularly after the death of his infant daughter, Ariyanah, due to sudden infant death syndrome in 2009 – three years to the day before the opening ceremony in London.
Coaches and teammates persuaded him to stick with it, and he became a respected captain of the U.S. team when he led six boxers – including himself – to Olympic qualification in a tournament in Brazil earlier this summer.
“I thought about Ariyanah from the first moment that I stepped in the ring until the very last moment I got out of the ring,” Herring said. “I was thinking about her, my country, my team, the Marine Corps. A lot was going through my head – not a lot to where I was getting sidetracked. I was just going out there to fight for everyone in my heart.”
After Herring left the ring, his first hug was for Jesse Ravelo, the U.S. assistant coach who runs the Marines’ boxing program. Ravelo was instrumental in refocusing Herring’s attention on boxing after his daughter’s death and again after a disappointing loss at the world championships last year that left him facing a steep road for Olympic qualification.
Herring then gave a slow salute toward the rest of his 12-member U.S. team, which has gathered in the London arena to cheer on every American fighter – not always the case with previous American teams.
“You’ve got to keep them uplifted,” Herring said. “I don’t want anyone to feel down.”
The U.S. boxers won their first four fights in London before Marcus Browne’s loss Monday. Three more Americans will be in the ring Wednesday, and Herring intends to be in the U.S. team’s usual spot above the exit tunnel at ExCeL arena, cheering and encouraging.
“Not really too happy, but I’ll keep my head up as team captain,” Herring said. “If I’m down, then my team is down. It hurts, but I’m glad I was able to come here, put on a USA uniform and represent my country. I believe I did to the best of my ability. He was just the better man today. It’s not the end of the world.
“I know in my heart that I did the best I could,” he said. “The people at home told me, no matter the result, I am still a hero, I am still a champion, and I’m going to take that confidence and uplift myself. It’s not the end of the world. People bounce back. A lot of great champions took losses and they came back, so why can’t I?” [End Beacham item]
2012 AMERICAS OLYMPIC QUALIFIER – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 141 pounds – BRONZE MEDALIST: in his first fight on 5-5-12 he stopped Juan Pablo Loyaza of Bolivia in the 3rd round; in his second fight on 5-6-12 he won a 15-9 decision against Lester Martinez of Guyana; in the quarterfinals on 5-8-12 he won a 10-8 decision against Joelvis Hernandez of Venezuela; in the semifinals on 5-11-12 he lost an 11-6 decision against Francisco Vargas of Puerto Rico…
2012 U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS – Colorado Springs, Colorado, 141 pounds – GOLD MEDALIST: in his first fight on 2-28-13 he won a 20-13 decision against Brian Ceballo of Brooklyn, N.Y.; in his second fight on 2-29-12 he won a 27-10 decision against Demond Brock of New Orleans, La.; in his third fight on 3-1-12 he won a 23-18 decision against Jamontay Clark of Cincinnati, Oh.; in the quarterfinals on 3-2-12 he won a 16-14 decision against Rashidi Ellis of Lynn, Mass.; in the semifinals on 3-3-12 he won a 20-13 decision against Luis Olivares of Glendale, Ariz.; in the finals on 3-4-12 he won a 14-9 decision against Julian Rodriguez of Paterson, N.J….
2011 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – Baku, Azerbaijan, 141 pounds: in his first fight on 9-30-11 he lost a 20-5 decision against Hu Qing of China…
2010 U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS – Colorado Springs, Colorado, 141 pounds: in his first fight on 7-13-10 he won a 15-9 decision against Willie Jones; in the quarterfinals on 7-14-10 he lost a 14-11 decision against Abel Ramos…
2010 DUALS USA-ITALY – Reno, Nevada, 141 pounds: on 4-2-10 he was stopped in the 2nd round against Davide Cenciarelli of Italy…
2009 U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS – Denver, Colorado, 141 pounds-sr. division: in his first fight on 6-9-09 he won a 9-4 decision against Tom Duquette of Waltham, Mass.; in the quarterfinals on 6-10-09 he lost by disqualification in the 3rd round against Frankie Gomez of Los Angeles, Calif….
KNOCKDOWNS: Jamel said, “I was knocked down as an amateur. This is a funny story – when I first started boxing, I fought Danny Jacobs. Danny Jacobs is a middleweight – this is how long ago it was. I was 15 years old when we fought – it was the finals of the New York State Junior Olympics – and he knocked me down. That was the very first loss of my amateur career.”…
- 7-2-16: was knocked down against left-handed Denis Shafikov – left hand, 2nd round…
CUTS: “I got cut as an amateur, too.”…
- 5-12-18: was cut against Juan Pablo Sanchez – over right eye, head clash, 2nd round…
- 7-2-16: was cut against left-handed Denis Shafikov – over right eye, 7th round…
OTHER INJURIES: “No, sir.”…
FOULS: “I actually lost a point once for holding, and you probably know the guy – Frankie Gomez. That was back in the 2009 USA Boxing nationals, the year he won it. That was a rough fight!”…
STRENGTHS: A left-hander with good skills and movement…had a strong amateur background…
WEAKNESSES: Can be inconsistent…
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: 5 years, 9 months…19 fights…96 total rounds…
AVERAGE LENGTH OF BOUTS: 5 rounds…
KNOCKOUT PERCENTAGE: of total fights – 52 %…of wins – 58 %…
DISTANCE FIGHTS: 10 rounds – 4 (2-2)…8 rounds – 2 (2-0)…