Jamel Herring makes first defense of WBO title against Lamont Roach Jr.
By Bill Tibbs
Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions presents one of boxing’s great stories, Jamel Herring (20-2, 7 KO’s), in his first title defense.
The champion will face mandatory challenger Lamont Roach (19-0-1, 10 KO’s) on November 9th at Chukchansi Park in Fresno, California. The fight will be streamed live on ESPN+.
The native of New York will be making the first defense of his WBO super featherweight title that he won when he beat Masayuki Ito in May of this year to capture the belt.
At 33-years of age, in his first world title shot, many people were wondering if Herring was a good guy, with a good story, who might unfortunately come up short against the favored Ito. However, in a career best performance, Herring thoroughly beat Ito in an impressive, unanimous decision victory in Kissimmee, Florida.
Herring, who enlisted in the United Sates Marines in 2003, won the patriotic hearts of American boxing fans after he turned professional in 2012 after returning from serving two tours of duty in Iraq. Before turning professional, Herring had also worked his way to the 2012 London Olympics as he juggled an amateur boxing career with full service in the Marines. Herring was the only United States Marine to compete at the London Olympics and the first active duty Marine to qualify for the United States Boxing Team since 1992.
Herring put together a strong run after turning pro 7-years ago. Despite a couple of setback losses over a year in 2016-2017, Herring worked his way to a world title shot by accumulating an impressive ledger of 19-2 (10 KO’s) heading into the Ito fight. Herring also suffered a devastating tragedy in his life in 2009 when he lost his infant daughter due to SIDS; he dedicated his title winning effort to his daughter.
In this fight, Herring will face undefeated Maryland native Lamont Roach who brings his undefeated, 19-0-1 (7 KO’s), record into the fight.
Herring knows that hanging onto his title allows him to stay alive for the possibility of some big money unification bouts against the likes of WBC champ Miguel Berchelt, IBF boss Tevin Farmer or WBA star Gervonta Davis.
While Herring likes the idea of facing some of the other champions, he also knows he has a tough assignment in front of him in a fighter who only has 1 blemish on his record; a draw against 2-time world title challenger Orlando Cruz.
Roach is also a fighter he knows a bit about having sparred with him a few years back. In recent interviews he revealed that while he knows Roach a bit from the past, title fights are a different story and he can’t look past any opponent.
“I sparred him before”, Herring said. “I am not going to talk about sparring of course. I think I did more than okay but, like I said, that was more than a couple of years ago and I can’t bank anything off of that.”
Unlike many pre-fight pressers and weigh-ins, Herring, as a nice a guy as you can hope to meet out of the ring, will more than likely be all smiles with Roach before first bell as he likes him and has a lot of respect for his opponent.
“I like Lamont. I have known him for over a decade. There is no animosity. There is nothing personal. It’s just business. I have to do what I gotta do to in order to keep my title because at the end of the day I want to continue to be champion and I want the bigger fights,” Herring said.
Herring also knows that every fighter who steps into the ring in his first world title shot is going to ring everything he has, as Herring did in besting Ito last May.
“There is more on the line these days and sometimes fighters go to a whole other level. So I still gotta be at my best and I can’t really focus too much on what he is going to do but I have to be at my best and not underestimate anybody in there," Herring said.