Jimmy “The Truth” Herrera is accustomed to entering the ring as an underdog. The Chicago native is experienced in fighting favored prospects and contenders on the road and has had an inordinate success in these types of matchups, having defeated unbeaten prospects in four of his last nine fights.
So don’t expect Herrera (15-3-1, 8 KOs) to be in awe of his opponent, former Ukraine amateur standout and rising star, Taras Shelestyuk (14-0, 9 KOs) when they meet this Friday, Nov. 4, in the 10-round welterweight main event on ShoBox: The New Generation live on SHOWTIME® (10:30 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) at Omega Products Event Center in Corona, Calif.
The 5-foot-10, 27-year-old Herrera has won three in a row and is 8-1-1 since dropping a close eight-round decision to Adrian Granados in February 2012. One of those victories was an upset seventh-round TKO over one-time highly ranked welterweight and world title challenger Mike “Machine Gun” Jones on Aug. 23, 2014.
Herrera is promoted by Hitz Boxing and co-managed by Cameron Dunkin and Mike Cericola.
Here are Herrera’s responses to a recent Q&A:
What are your thoughts going into your ShoBox debut?
“I’m always up for a challenge, so I’m really excited about this opportunity. I’m definitely ready to compete against another undefeated fighter. I’m coming to show my skills to the world and prove I’m a boxer you have to pay attention to.
“At this point of my career, I want to make a move fast while I’m young. I don’t just want to be a guy with a nice record. I truly believe in my skills and that I can reach the highest level.
“I’ve been getting great help with sparring with the best of the best in Chicago. Sam Colonna, George Hernandez and all the Chicago boxing coaches have been great mentors to me and I am very thankful.’’
What do you know about Shelestyuk?
“He was a great amateur fighter and he’s a lefty. That’s pretty much all I need to know. The only thing I can give him is that he has experience, so I’ve got to be careful of that. But it’s nothing new – I’ve seen fighters like that.’’
What kind of fight do you expect?
“I expect him to be a boxer with movement. I think he’ll try to box me. I’ll be coming forward, being aggressive. Then, we’ll see what his game plan is.’’
What is the key to winning?
“It all depends on the pressure I can apply, throwing the right punches at the right time, the accuracy of my punches. Each punch has to have a purpose. I’m definitely more of a pressure guy. I like Gennady Golovkin’s style, Julio Cesar Chavez is my idol. That is the kind of style I try to fight with.”
On fighting on ShoBox for the first time?
“I’m definitely excited because I know a lot of people will be watching. I’m not nervous at all. The cameras, the bright lights, honestly, I don’t care about. My focus is totally on this fight. This is the type of fight that can open a lot of doors for me.’’
Is this your biggest fight and do you feel pressure?
“Yes, definitely, this is my biggest fight — just for all the doors a win would open for me, all the possibilities. There’s no pressure on me. He’s the one representing his country with the weight on his shoulders. I’ve lost before, but that doesn’t make me an opponent.”
Are they making a mistake fighting you?
“I feel like they are making a mistake, but I also feel this is going to be a good test for him. I think Taras took the fight more for himself. But if he doesn’t know now about me, he’s going to find out.’’
You boxed amateurs for one year and had 25 bouts. He was a 2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist with a boatload of amateur accomplishments. How significant is the experience of fighting amateur?
“Personally, to me, the amateurs are not that important at all. It’s all irrelevant once you go pro. I know some great amateur boxers who made it after turning pro, and some who didn’t. It’s a whole different ballgame. As a pro, I believe I’ve fought better guys than he has. I’ve been tested way more than he has. You can’t take away what he did as an amateur, but fighting with the smaller gloves, with no headgear, is totally different.’’
Undefeated cruiserweights Constantin Bejenaru (11-0, 4 KOs, 0-1-1 in World Series of Boxing), of Catskill, N.Y. by way of Moldova, and Steve “Superman” Bujaj (16-0-1, 11 KOs), of New York, will collide in a 10-rounder for the vacant WBC International WBC Continental Americas titles in the co-feature.
The nephew of popular former two-time lightweight world champion Acelino “Popo” Freitas, undefeated lightweight Vitor Jones Freitas (12-0, 1 ND, 6 KOs), of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, will be opposed by local fan favorite Manuel Mendez (12-1-2, 8 KOs), of Indio, Calif., in an eight-round bout in the opening match of the telecast.
Tickets for the event promoted by Banner Promotions, Thompson Boxing, Hitz Boxing and Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing are priced at $100 (ringside), $70 (reserved) and $50 (general admission) and can be purchased by calling (714) 935-0900.