Jamel Herring Interview – Fighting Pride

Jamel Herring Interview – Fighting Pride

The United States of America, the home of the brave and the land of the free. On this small planet that we all inhabit there is not a prouder nation upon it. A country who’s citizens are fanatical about being American. As a nation born through war, its people celebrate their veterans past and present. Through wars of independence against the Red Coat Army loyal to Britain or the American Civil war this proud nation in its infancy was built on the sacrifices of its brave young men.

In recent times we have seen on TV the men and woman of US and Coalition Forces go off to fight in an impossible war against an invisible enemy in places likened to hell. We watched on TV as these young men leave behind their families and go to a places where they are expected to risk their lives on a daily basis. We seen on TV the absolute devastation left by a roadside bombs targeting these men and woman…..WE seen on TV whilst THEY lived through it.

Jamel Herring was raised in the Hamlet of Coram, New York. A place which looks  picturesque on a Google search but like most places in todays world you don’t have to try to hard to find that “street life” is usually thriving off of human vices away from the cameras. Jamel explained how he steered clear of falling into the “Life”.

“Coram was a crazy place live at times and then it could be so peaceful. I seen a lot of my friends getting caught up doing things that they shouldn’t have been doing , especially at a really young age. Me? I found sports to keep me busy and away from that kind of life”

Jamel happily admits that boxing was never his first love. Like so many youngsters in the US there is only one sport for them and that’s American Football.

 “When i got started in sport it was playing football in high school, that was the sport that sent me on my way to being an athlete and doing things of that nature. It was years later before I laced up a set of boxing gloves, I was like 15 or 16 years old”

The New Yorker may have been late coming into boxing but he was eager to make up for lost time. After just a year in the sport a young Jamel picked up his first amateur loss to future middleweight world champion Danny Jacobs during the New York Junior Olympic Finals in 2002.

In the 2003 the World was on the verge of War again. It was plain to see that no diplomatic solution would be reached between the US and the Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Government. Jamel Herring was Graduating from school whilst his country was gearing up for war. Like so many of us at that time in our lives Herring felt lost in what to do in life until his friend Suggested he enlist in the military and do something with his life and that’s exactly what he did.

“I went and joined the marine corp coming straight out of school. I was still only 17 years old, in fact i spent my 18th Birthday in bootcamp. Once I started my military career I thought that I wouldn’t have had time for boxing. Boxing was a bit stop start for the next few years…..soldier first, boxer second”

image.pngIn 2005 the young Marine was sent on his first tour of war torn Iraq after being deployed in the infamous Iraqi City of Fallujah. Now working with a Recon Unit as an electrician who’s job it was to seek out insurgents tasked with planting IEDs and Roadside bombs . For those of us old enough to remember, Fallujah was a place we seen on the news daily. Renowned as one of the most dangerous places in the world at the time, Jamel said to me in as serious a tone that only a military man could “Being in Iraq in a time of war really took my mind away from boxing”. Once home from Iraq Jamel admitted he had a new found appreciation of American values and way of life.

In all Jamel did two tours in Iraq firstly in 2005 and then again in 2007 but on his second tour things had changed, Jamel had become a father and with parenthood comes responsibilities, for a soldier that is staying alive.image.png

Herring did have success in the ring between tours of Iraq but he admits his mind was always on the job he had to do in the Middle East and getting home safely to his family. The war veteran explained that being in the Marine Corp in a time of war means your mind is solely focussed on doing a job which meant “Boxing was always in my heart but it had to take a back seat”. He admits that there was a time when he thought he would never be able to get back into the boxing the way he would have wanted but that was all going change.

Coming back from a war zone to civilisation is often one of the hardest things any soldier will do. From being on a constant level of high alert then walking right back into your life back home. When the then 22 year old came back after his second tour he explained how still being in the military, and their boxing team helped him resettle and get back into the life he had left behind.

“It took a while , a really long time. It wasn’t easy but i was determined. I was determined to get back into boxing. I concentrated on being the best fighter I could be in the boxing team because the better you are on the team the better the chances of you sticking around and that’s what i needed in my life at that time”

Due to his Military career The New Yorker had always felt like he was playing catch up in the ring and that he could never really have a good run at boxing that way he always wanted to, but in the next couple of years that all changed. Refocussed on boxing Jamel says “I started studying the amateur system a lot more than i ever had before and that helped Me a lot in the ring, it wasn’t long before i started moving up the rankings” and after winning Gold at the 2012 Olympic trials Jamel was going to the London Olympics, the first Marine Corps boxer to do so since 1992.

On 27th July 2012 the opening ceremony for the London Olympic Games got underway. This is the day that every athlete at any Olympic Games looks forward to, a ceremony that celebrates the achievements of every athlete of just making it there, which will be the pinochle of so many’s career. The now father of four had fought for his country on the battlefield, now he would do so in the ring on the world stage, but the opening ceremony was a day of mixed emotions for Jamel. On the 27th July 2009 Jamel’s partner found their young daughter Ariyanah who was in bed wasn’t breathing, and although Doctors tried they couldn’t save the two month old child. The cause of death was later determined as SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). During our interview i made a conscious decision not to ask Jamel about this as a token of respect as the tragedy is already well documented. On that night of the opening ceremony Jamel said he looked up to the sky and said “Baby Girl I made it”

London 2012 is remembered as one of the great Olympic Games and Jamel felt right at home in the UK.

“I’m from New York so coming to London it was like a home away from for me. Once i was over in London i quickly adapted to the people and made some really good friends some of whom I am still close to.”

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The Olympian said He didn’t fair to well in the olympic games but he felt he had done himself and the Marine Corp proud. Jamel had loved his time in London and had made some good friends through the sport.

“I would love to go back to the UK one day to entertain the people over there. I’m friends with Josh Taylor and i am really happy with what he’s doing for himself in the sport. People need to remember boxing is like a fraternity. What i mean by that is that its a very small community so Josh is still a good friend of mine and he just fought another good friend of mine Ryan Martin”

Coming home from the Olympic games the American made one of the hardest decisions of his life when he decided to leave the Marine Corp and pursue his dream of becoming a Professional Boxer. Now with a record of 18-2-0 10KO picked up USBA Super Featherweight Title in his last fight with a points win over John Vincent Moralde Jamel should soon be world ranked with the IBF.

There is a saying used by Marines “My time in uniform maybe over, but being a Marine never ends” now adopting the alias “Semper Fi” which is a Marine Corp motto, Herring is a proud example of that.

“I love this sport. I still support the amateur system to this day. I’m doing really well right now in the pro game but my main goal has alway been to represent the Marine Corp to the best of my ability and with pride. Whether that was in the amateurs or now as a pro, that gives me enjoyment and i hope it gives the Corp”

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Now promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank “Semper Fi” has said in 2019 He will have a decision to make. He can wait for his shot at the IBF or he does have the option to go the WBO route, Jamel says one thing is for sure though.

“In 2019 i WILL be fighting for a world title of that i have no doubt. I will be a world champion. Not only that i will want to unify the division as well. Some guys today get a title and have no interest in Unifying but not me though, I want to be a unified world champion”

*Jamel Herring is fighting again on 14th December in Texas

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Alex Saucedo Interview – The Man Bringing Boxing Back In The Sooner State

Alex Saucedo Interview – The Man Bringing Boxing Back In The Sooner State

When you think of Oklahoma you think of a musical , or if you are a keen American historian you may know  Oklahoma is the place where the native Americans where sent after being evicted from there home lands back in the 19th century , but in amongst all that Oklahoma has a proud boxing history . It was a misdemeanour to take part in prize fighting until the 1970s , an unpopular law , so the good people of Oklahoma simply ignored it . the very first Championship boxing bout took place in the city when Denmark’s Battling Dane defended his world title . Officially the next boxing bout that took place in the city was in the 1970’s but it is known that the most important Heavyweight Champion ever Jack Johnson fought in Oklahoma , the very first ever black heavyweight world champion , so has Sugar Ray Robinson and George Forman . But Oklahoma like many cities has struggled to become a relevant boxing city as it didn’t have a Boxing Commission until 1999 .image.png

After years of struggling to find professional boxers for the city to get behind it now looks like they finally have a young talent to throw there support towards  . Alex Saucedo (24) has already been compared to the legendary Arturo Gatti , a comparison that the boxing world does not throw around lightly , but if anybody happened to catch Alex Saucido’s last fight against Lenny Zappavigna you can see why he is well on his way to earning the comparisons , and the Oklahoma crowd love it .

I asked Alex what it was like to win such a dramatic fight against Lenny Z .

” This was a very tough fight because both of us wanted to win because we knew the winner would go and fight Maurice Hooker for the WBO World Title . Both of us didn’t want to go down so it became a war . Im just happy that the fans enjoyed the fight and i came through it and thats all that really matters . ”

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At just 24 Alex is still learning the finer points of boxing but that night in the sooner state he proved he had the heart of a lion which means he is half way there to becoming a champion . I asked Alex if he had watched the fight back and what had he learned from that night that will push him on to the next level .

” Watching it back he caught me with a good shot in the fourth but i stuck in there and that definitely gave me vital championship experience for the next upcoming fight against Hooker . Me and my trainer (Abel Sanchez) sat down and we watched the fight back together . We were able to see what i did wrong but we also seen a lot of what i did right . Right after Canelo vs GGG fight he will be waiting for me up at Big Bear . I am already training here in Oklahoma City so when i get up there we can work on the finer things and we will be training really hard for this next fight . ”

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When I was watching Saucedo/Zappavigna fight on TV it was astonishing the noise coming from the Oklahoma crowd , something that you don’t really hear from an American live audience. There was a point in that fight where Saucedo looked to be on the brink of going down as he was hurt badly by Zappavigna and the 24 year old has no doubts about what kept him going.

” In that fourth round i just knew i couldn’t go down in front of my people . That is why I do all this training, to prepare for situations like that but the support of the crowd pushes you up and I loved that, I loved that all those people came out to support me and I appreciate everyone of them ”

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Next up for “El Cholo” is WBO World Champion Maurice Hooker who is coming off a fantastic win against Terry Flannigan. It was widely expected that this fight would be shown on Eddie Hearn’s new online platform/partner DAZN but after Hooker/Saucido went to purse bids it was Top Rank who coughed up the money for there man with a whopping $1.6m. I asked Alex what it was like to be backed by your promotion team with such a big bid to secure the fight for him in front of his home fans in Oklahoma .

” Hooker is a very good fighter , he may even be the best fighter I have ever faced and thats why he is the world champion . It’s great that Top Rank and ESPN have shown this faith in me and it means a lot. I told them to get ready because i am going to give them some great fights .

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Sometime when you interview a fighter you get the feeling it is just a job to them but with Alex Saucedo you can tell that this lad wants to go to the top. When talking about a very hard fight he had recently Alex was the one who brought up all the things he done wrong in that fantastic victory. His fight with Hooker will take place on 16th November in Oklahoma. Here in the UK it will be shown live on Boxnation , and trust me you will not want to miss this fight .

Steven Donnell

This Interview was took from our podcast ” Beat To The Punch” check it out on radio blog
http://percolate.blogtalkradio.com/offsiteplayer?
Or here on youtube