Tragedies and Tears guide Jamal Herring into Title Defense


On Saturday night in Dubai, the fight that boxing fans have patiently waited for will finally come to fruition. As the WBO Super Featherweight Champion and retired United States Marine, Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring (22-2, 10 KOs) will invade the Middle East as he looks to end the career of his opponent and defend his strap for the third time when he battles the former two division champion Carl “The Jackal” Frampton (28-2, 16 KOs). This long-awaited clash was almost never made and had been postponed three times in the last five months due Covid-19 and unforeseen injuries. Leading up to this highly anticipated world championship showdown, Frampton has made it clear that he will retire if he loses to Herring. However the “Irish Jackal” has other plans and every intention of capturing the retired Marine’s WBO Title and moving forward to become the undisputed champion in the Super Featherweight division “It’s a huge fight and gives me the chance to become the island of Ireland’s only ever three-weight world champion, and one of the only ever Brits to do it. I’ve done it the hard way too, as I have beaten champions to win all my world titles.” Stated Frampton.

Herring the retired US Marine Corps Veteran who enlisted in the military to serve his country in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attack has endured unimaginable life tragedies, pain, tears and suffering on his road to become the current WBO 130lb World Champion. From using boxing as an outlet to escape a gang infested neighborhood, to serving two tours in Iraq with the US Marines, to having to deal with sudden death of his two month old daughter Ariyanah, his life struggles have clearly paved the way mentally for Herring to deal with whatever Frampton brings to the ring this Saturday. “I’ve been in moments where the common man would’ve given up and walked away from things, but it made me stronger and I learned to appreciate things more in life. From my daughter’s passing to losing fellow comrades in the military, everything plays a role with me today.” Stated Herring in a recent interview.

Photo: Mikey Williams/ TopRank

From the beginning of Herring’s boxing career it was two fellow Marines that went on to become world heavyweight champions that inspired Jamal. “Neon” Leon Spinks and Ken Norton. As a United States Marine, Herring used his talent in the ring to lead Team USA into London for the 2012 Olympics on a stacked boxing team that included the likes of Errol Spence and Claressa Shields to name a few. The opening ceremonies however were bittersweet as they landed on the 3rd anniversary of the death of his daughter. “I think about her all the time and I remember the opening ceremony clearly. I remember looking up in the sky and saying, “This is for you”. “I made it here and this is your moment, and thank you for always guiding me on the right path. Because I could’ve easily fallen on the wrong path and had a downward spiral in life.”

Now as Herring is set to defend his title against an established two division champion in Frampton who looks to create his own boxing legacy. Herring knows the importance of this fight and will be coming in fully prepared “I’ve had many individuals help me prepare for this upcoming fight. Other than the obvious in my corner which is Red Spikes, Esau Dieguez, and Brian Bomac McIntyre, my strength coach Jamie Belt, and nutritionist Paulina Indara have been a tremendous help.” Stated Herring. “I also have to mention that Terence Crawford has obviously been by my side, both in and out of the ring. We’ve sparred on many occasions, as well with others fighters such as, Cristian Williams, Mykell Gamble, and others.” 

When asked about fighting a  big name like Frampton and his game plan going into the fight Herring said “This fight means the world to me personally. Every fighter should dream about not only fighting an established champion, but getting a victory over them as well. Saturday I plan on winning of course, but I will play it smart. He’s a crafty veteran at the end of the day, so I gotta bag each round, one at a time. My corner has a game plan and we’ll just follow the blueprint and make adjustments if necessary.” 

Last night when this writer spoke with Herring about returning to the Middle East and his service  Jamal had the following messages for his fellow troops “I  just want to acknowledge that my heart is definitely with all the troops who are serving around the world. I’ve been in their boots, but hard times don’t always last forever, and I pray they all return home safely.”

About Anthony Saldana

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