SAN DIEGO Calif., May 26, 2019 – A packed boxing scheduled delivered several highlight reel knockout wins, but the biggest win of all came in a brilliant tactical performance by an American military veteran on Memorial Day weekend. Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring of Cincinnati (20-2, 10 KO) had more to fight for than just a title. He fought for his fellow veterans in the U.S. Marine Corps and all services who made the ultimate sacrifice on Memorial Day weekend. He fought for the memory of his late daughter, Ariyanne, who died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and would have turned 10 years old on Saturday.
But he also fought for himself, a victory over PTSD which has haunted him since serving two tours in Iraq as a gunner with the Marine Corps. Herring nearly gave up boxing, but decided to take it up again and credits the sport with giving him an outlet to fight off his demons.
It seemed all of America was pulling for the 33-year-old Herring to get an upset victory in his fight against WBO junior lightweight champion Masayuki “The Judge” Ito of Japan (25-2-1, 13 KO). With several dozens Marines in dress uniforms among the crowd of 2,912 in Kissimmee, Florida, Herring delivered a skilled technical performance over the heavy handed Ito, rendering his dangerous right hand ineffective and winning by unanimous decision. Judges’ scores were 118-111, 118-112, and 116-112.
Surrounded in the ring by his family, training team, and many of the Marines in attendance, an emotional Herring said, “This is unbelievable, I can’t believe it, I still can’t believe it. I want to dedicate this fight to my daughter, Ariyanah, who passed away from SIDS. Tonight would have been her 10th birthday, and I dedicate this title to her.
“Ito was a tough competitor, but I always believed I could win a world title. This is a dream come true, and to do this on Memorial Day weekend makes it even sweeter.”
Working with trainer Brian McIntrye for his last three fights, who also trains world champion Terence Crawford, Herring’s performance has improved, especially his defensive posture. From the southpaw stance, Herring uses an excellent right jab to set up good left hooks to the body and head, while pivoting to avoid right hand counterpunches from orthodox fighters like Ito. When Herring kept the jab active and fought at distance, Ito could not figure out how to get to Herring. Accustomed to using a wide stance to leverage more power, Ito ended up off balance trying to chase Herring.
In rounds where Herring decided to mix it up, Ito was able to brawl and be more effective. After battling at close range with Ito in the eighth round, McIntyre told Herring “you don’t have to bang with him. The name of the game in boxing.” It was the best possible advice, and allowed Herring to reset and go back to what was working for him.
Herring scored what appeared to be a knockdown in the ninth round, but it was not called by the referee. Photos and replays confirmed Ito put a glove down, but it ends up being a mere footnote.
Herring is a true American hero outside the ring, and now a world champion in a richly deserved victory, perfectly scripted. He should enjoy the results of his hard work. But he may not want to get too attached to his belt. WBC champion Miguel Berchelt was ringside and it’s likely Herring will face Berchelt in a unification fight eventualy. But Ito may ask for a rematch, and Herring said he’d consider it.
Austin Trout and Terrell Gausha both disappointed with draw
Super welterweights Terrell Gausha (21-1-1, 10 KOs) and former title holder Austin Trout (31-5-1, 17 KOs) fought to a disappointing draw in Biloxi, Mississippi. Scorecards were 99-91 for Gausha, 96-94 for Trout and 95-95. The crowd booed loudly when the decision was announced.
Gausha got off to an early start. Trout finally got up to speed and won the later roundsm but by then Gausha appeared ahead on the card, and landed more punches overall. “It’s boxing, sometimes; you don’t get the deicison,” said Gausha. “I’ve been through a lot this camp, I caught a bad cold last week. My father passed away during this training camp, it was round. I felt like I want to do bigger and better things Respect to Austin Trout, he came out and fought, but I got the victory.”
Trout called for a rematch. “Hell, no, we need to do that again. That wasn’t right, let’s do it again. That’s after a year layoff man, timing is going to be off. Now that I’m more active, I need an immediate rematch.”
Ahmed Elbiali continues climb up the light heavyweight dvision ranks
Light heavyweight Ahmed Elbiali of Florida (19-1, 16 KOs) continued his climb toward the top of boxing’s most competitive division, scoring a second round TKO win over Marios Eduardo Simoes of Brazil (13-6-1, 5 KOs). Elbiali has power to spare, and it starting to develop more speed and mobility with his feet. He could give any of the champions real trouble.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on social media: @PRProSanDiego.
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