World champion Jamel Herring discusses forthcoming Ring City USA event
WBO Super Featherweight World Title Jamel Herring will serve as a guest commentator on Ring City USA’s Thursday night telecast, live from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. and around the United States on NBC Sports Network.
Herring enters the broadcast booth fresh off a career-defining win on April 3 when he knocked out two-division world champion Carl Frampton in the sixth round to successfully defend his super featherweight title for the third time. Herring was the captain of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team and a proud member of the United States Marine Corps, having served two tours of duty in Iraq.
On Thursday night, he will join the Ring City USA team to present a six-fight event that is headlined by Jelena Mrjdenovich making the sixth defense of her WBA Featherweight World Title against Erika Cruz Hernandez. The main card on NBCSN will feature three fights beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, with a bonus three-fight undercard beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT around the world on Twitch. Additionally, the presentation will include West Point cadets facing off in amateur bouts beginning at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT on Twitch.
The Armed Forces Network Europe and Pacific will also make the broadcast available to U.S. Forces serving overseas on AFN TV. Thursday’s event will mark the first professional fight card in New York since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020
Herring spoke with the media to share insights on his legacy as a Marine, his role as a guest commentator on Ring City, his next fight and more. Below are highlights from his conversation:
On his journey from the Marines to a World Championship: “I was thinking about my time from Iraq to where I am at now and it feels like a dream at times. I know fellow Marines who love the sport of boxing as well who used to dream about being in the position I am in. I remember clearly back in 2007, I was literally in Iraq during the Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather fight. I remember thinking I need to get back into the sport of boxing, I need to get back in the sport when I get home to America. Just to remember that day clearly and to see where I am at now – it’s a blessing.”
On a future broadcasting career: “I love the commentating aspect of the sport because it allows me to speak on my public opinion and give my knowledge of the sport as well. I can definitely see myself doing this as a career in the future but right now I am just taking full advantage of the opportunity and the moment. I am glad to be a part of it.”
On working with Ring City: “I am close with Seniesa (Estrada) and Shawn (Porter). Shawn is the one that motivated me to get into broadcasting, especially being an active fighter. Seneisa did a great job, especially giving her opinion from a women’s aspect and what to look at it. She’s very knowledgeable of the sport. It comes natural with Shawn, so it’s great having him on board.”
On training to fight vs. studying to announce a fight: “It’s definitely different. For the most part in camp, you know yourself. You know what to expect going into training camp. All week I have been looking at my notes and studying the fighters and where they are from, and all the different aspects. It’s fun. I get to learn something new with each fighter. Commentators also get to see the fighters grow throughout their career.”
On the amateur fights between West Point cadets on the undercard: “As a Marine Corps Sergeant, I am going to be hard on them because I expect nothing but the best effort from them. I know what it takes to even get to that level, not even just in the Marines but in the military in general. A lot of people don’t see it but during the amateurs, we have a target on our backs because they feel that we are privileged, I guess. That we had a ‘free ride,’ they would say, to the national tournaments. But in order for you to get to that level on any of the Armed Forces teams, you have to be the best of your branch. I am just happy for them and hope they take it as far as they want to take it.”
On developing military boxers at the professional level: “It is hard for us in the military to get to the highest level in boxing. I remember I met Ken Norton before he passed when I was an active duty Marine in 2006. I was also very close with Leon Spinks who recently passed away. I look back at those two individuals and I think that I am only one of the remaining marines to carry a world title – it means a lot to me but I would also like to see more follow my path. I looked up to Spinks and Norton, they have wins over the greatest of all time, Muhammad Ali, and they were marines. I took the fight with Carl Frampton very, very seriously and I just feel like there are a lot of Marines and veterans out there who are looking up to me and that’s why I always carry myself as a Marine to this day.”
On Thursday’s main event: “I have always been a big supporter of women in the sport of boxing. They are fighters. Most people see around my camp, and in my camp leading into Carl Frampton, Mikaela Mayer was in the gym with me for the most part. She works just as hard as the men. I am a huge supporter of women’s boxing and it is good to see them get the proper respect that they deserve. Women’s boxing has come a long way from let’s say the Laila Ali days. Now, amateur boxing is growing and more girls are getting involved, so you are seeing the amateur pedigree behind them.”
On the postponement of the heavyweight main event: “I know Stephan (Shaw) and his trainer personally. He actually was basically an alternate on the 2012 Olympic team and a lot of people don’t know that. He helped a lot of us prepare for the Olympics. I know him from way back and he was young then. It’s a bummer that the fight fell through, but I wish them well. It gave us an opportunity for women to showcase what they can do – their skills and ability. Amanda Serrano just showed what she could do on the same platform. I would have loved to see Shaw vs. Franklin on Thursday though.”
On the importance of AFN: “When I was over in Iraq in 2007, I got to witness one of the biggest fights of that time, of that era, between De La Hoya and Mayweather, thanks to AFN. They definitely play a huge role. They aired all of my Armed Forces bouts as well and they’ve aired some of my own fights. Our service men and women get to see individuals like myself representing them on a bigger stage. It means a lot for them to know that there is someone out there who represents them. Even though I am not active duty – you know the motto, ‘Once a Marine, Always a Marine.’ And I carry myself like that. It gives them the boost of morale.”
On his next fight: “I look at all roads and options, to be honest with you. I don’t count anything out. I don’t even count out the Shakur Stevenson fight. It’s just about what is available and what makes the most sense. Not even on the business side but in terms of my own legacy. Of course, I want to win another world title. I want to win more world titles. If those opportunities come first at super featherweight or lightweight, then that’s what I am going to go for. Right now, I am enjoying the time off from training, but I am always thinking about what’s next. I am already over the Frampton fight. I am glad I got the respect that I was looking for. It was an honor to share the ring with him but now I am looking for the next big thing. The Valdez fight would be the smart choice. But I just want to continue conducting myself as a Marine and bringing more prestigious titles to the Marines and be known as the one of the best to do it. I think that a fight with Oscar Valdez and a big win over him would at least put me in the best conversation for being Fighter of the Year.”