Beat To The Punch Ep21

I was joined the line by Nathan Dowie and Riku to speak about all this weeks big boxing news including Jamel Herring picks up a World Title, Hughie Fury and will he ever fulfil his early potential . We also spoke about AJ/Ruiz as well as all the rest of the goings on in the Heavyweight Division.

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The Harsh Reality Of Professional Boxing

The Harsh Reality Of Professional Boxing
“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life.”
We have all heard this epic speech from the sixth instalment of Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Movies. This speech features in countless motivational videos on youtube, every few months it appears then reappears on social media and time and time again we will sit back and listen to every word and adapt it to our own lives. I doubt when Stallone wrote this famous scene he knew he was telling the story of the struggles so many fighters endure to chase their dream.

Since I started this website around three years ago I have had the privilege of  meeting and interviewing some great characters within boxing . I have been a guest in Boxing Gym’s around the country which has gave me the opportunity to see what the life of a boxer is away from the plaudits and bright lights. Yes, i have always known that these guys are finely tuned fighting machines, but i had never seen the sacrifices and dedication to the sport boxers have up close. I had never sat in a gym and watch these guys do two hours of drills before they go to work and then again after work. I had never looked into a fighters eyes and seen their chilling determination to reach their goal. I had also never seen the pressure applied on a boxer to sell tickets, pay for training camps and the work that goes in behind the scenes to try and secure sponsorship.

On Saturday night I came across a post on social media by IBF European Champion Ronnie “The Shark” Clark saying he had put his IBF belt up for sale on eBay. On closer inspection Ronny says that due to his fight being cancelled for a third time he was in financial trouble and with Christmas just around the corner he had decided to sell his belt to raise cash for his kids Christmas presents. The night Ronny beat Zelfa Barrett to win that title he also won me over as a fan. He was brought in to test an up and coming prospect in Barrett but ultimately he was meant to lose, but Ronny tore that script up and wrote a whole new one. That night in the ring Ronny won over a country. After serving time in prison it looked like this guy had got a second chance at life and took it, but boxing again proves it is no Hollywood movie.

We hear from media outlets like Sky Sports and BT that British Boxing is booming but sadly this just isn’t the case. Just like in society the vast majority of wealth stays at the very top of the sport. The sad facts are that small hall boxing is living hand to mouth and it’s to the detriment to its boxers all over the country. I know for a fact there are small hall promoters who pull fights on the day of the event because a fighter hasn’t sold his quoter of tickets. I also know there are some promoters who pay fighters a low flat rate when they have sold well over there quoter by thousands of pounds. I have spoken to fighters who have fell into depression due to the sheer pressure that is put on them before they have even laced up a pair of gloves. I know boxers who have decided to work a 9 to 5 and settle down with their family rather than deal with extra burden that comes with the professional game.

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Now here is a scary thought for you to ponder on. How many boxers with the god given talent and potential right to the very top of the sport lose heart and give up the sport due to the stress and constants battles just get in the ring.

Steven Donnell

Floyd Mayweather Jnr – The Jokes Over

We all have that one uncle who always tells the same joke at every family function. A joke that when heard the first couple of times is met by laughter but as time goes on the laughter downgrades to a smile and before long it starts to grind on you. This unoriginal act will start provoking a reaction other than laughter, It will bring no joy whatsoever to the point you cannot really class it as a joke anymore, It’s more an attack on your state of mind.

There is not a boxing cliche left that hasn’t been used to describe Floyd Mayweather Jnr’s career. With multiple World Titles at five different weight classes, with plaudits from every major sports outlet on the planet as well as generating over $1B in revenue in his career he truly is one of the all time boxing greats. The only thing that comes close to Floyd’s elite level skills is his elite level ego. From crazy demands to outrageous temper tantrums Floyd Mayweather has brought the best and worst out in fans of boxing. His ego mania was last seen whilst boxing fans were gearing up for one the biggest fights in years between Canelo and GGG back in 2017. With a fear and loathing of being forgotten about it was announced that Las Vegas based Mayweather would fight Superstar UFC Champion Conner McGregor in a boxing a ring the week before the Middleweight super fight. A fight aimed at stealing the casual fans PPV buys from Canelo/GGG this was like dog marking his teritiory. This really was classic Floyd, not yet ready to pass on the torch to the guys now carrying boxing he looked to damage them and the sport by taking potential revenue away by fighting a zero fight novice.

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More recently Floyd’s former foe Canelo Alvarez signed the most lucrative deal in boxing history and fired a gloating shot in Mayweather’s direction. Now any normal Multi Millionaire adult would laugh off Canelos dig, i mean after all what else do you have left to prove? Well for Floyd it seems letting go of the constant lime light has been his biggest struggle so we all knew what was coming.

Whilst in Japan a well choreographed “chance meeting” between two of boxings modern day greats Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather had words and left both claiming that these now old and diminished versions will meet again for the rematch, a rematch  nobody wanted, but everyone will buy and that is power Floyd Mayweather has over boxing…….He sells

News has just broken that former boxing five weight World Champion Mayweather will fight Japanese kick boxer Tension Nasukawa with the rules yet to be disclosed. Now lets just get this out in the open right away, there is no way that Floyd will fight a Kickboxer at Kickboxing, no way does this ego maniac give away any advantage. Floyd was famous for making every opponent dance to his tune in negotiations whilst he was an elite level boxer so that will never change.

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How many more time will this joke be retold? How much money and attention will be diverted away from real boxers before someone puts your uncle is asked to leave and put in a taxi and is sent home, or better still when will we stop inviting him in the first place?. People think that Floyd Mayweather with his 50-0-0 record is risking his legacy, I would argue otherwise, i would say Floyd is already damaging it with these freak show fights.

Go away and enjoy your life, boxing doesn’t need you.

Steven Donnell

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