Jamel Herring: New trainer & weight class but same mentality

Jamel Herring returns Saturday night against Jamaine Ortiz on ESPN 8pm ET/5pm PT.

This Saturday night marks the return of former WBO super featherweight champion Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring (23-3) live from the Resorts World Event Center in Las Vegas, NV, on ESPN. Herring is moving up in weight to face undefeated lightweight contender Jamaine Ortiz (15-0-1) from Worcester, MA.

The last time anyone saw Herring in the ring was against now unified featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson back in October. The younger, faster Stevenson stopped Herring, and he hasn’t been in the ring since. Herring’s time away has been good as the 36-year-old former champion needed to rest his body and spend time with his family back in Ohio. While always finding ways to keep himself busy and active on social media, Herring released his book “The Fighting Marine: The Jamel Herring Story” back in January. The rest of the time, he found himself doing some acting and commentating work alongside Top Rank’s Crystina Poncher. Although all of that was going on, Herring found himself getting right back to his true love, which is boxing.

Speaking of boxing, Herring was in search of a new trainer and decided to work with Southern California-based trainer Manny Robles. What was that initial conversation between the two like? Herring told FanSided, “It’s funny, me and Manny (Robles) worked together over 10 years ago. He helped me get ready for the Olympics when I went to L.A with USA Boxing. He trained me for the pre-qualifiers in Brazil and again that summer for the Olympic Games. Before I went to Bomac (Brian McIntyre), I actually called him first to train me back in 2017, but things happened, and I went with Bomac. When I needed to get a new trainer, I thought to myself, ‘why not see if Manny is available’? When I spoke to him about it, he was on board right away.”

Jamel Herring looks to overcome some obstacles against Jamaine Ortiz on ESPN

Now that Herring decided to go with Robles, it also meant that he needed to trade in the high altitude of Colorado for the hills and palm trees of SoCal. With the change of trainers and locations comes a change in routine. Something that Herring knows all too well about as he served honorably in the Marine Corps. “I’m used to putting my body through hell because I have that Marine Corps mentality. With Bomac, we were doing something every day during the week. Training with Manny, we just do enough. To get the best out of me when sparring, we will spar first and do the second workout in the evening. It’s more about rest and not straining your body,” Herring told FanSided.

Herring continued, “It’s great here, but I do miss my Omaha family. I didn’t come in there (Robles’ Gym) like I was the star. I love being around the young fighters coming up in the amateur system, the prospects, and other pros. It’s a great atmosphere with no egos, and everyone shows each other proper respect. Being in Southern California, there is sparring all over and especially since they know you are a former champion, there’s great work.”

On Saturday night, Herring will have his hands full as not only will he be fighting with a new trainer, but he is also competing at the lightweight limit of 135 pounds. What does Herring think of his opponent and competing in a new weight class? Herring said, “I’m motivated for the fight. I’ve fought at a high caliber for so long. I’ve beaten undefeated fighters.” Herring continued, “I’m hungry because I know with a victory, what comes next. I’m not taking anyone lightly. We have done our studying and nothing against him, but it’s not something I haven’t seen or dealt with before.”

A lot of Herring’s confidence comes from his time serving in the Marine Corps. It’s no secret that when Memorial Day comes around, Herring wants to be involved in a fight. The month of May has mixed emotions as his best friend, who was also a Marine veteran, passed away in 2004 from lung cancer. It’s also his daughter’s birthday, who passed away in 2009 from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), and it was the same month he won his first world title. What are his thoughts going into the month of May every year? Herring said, “My best friend Stephen Brown, who is the reason why I joined the Marine Corps, was a year older than me, and when he came home from boot camp, he encouraged me to enlist. May 25th is my daughter’s birthday, who passed away, and it’s around the same time I won the title back in 2019. This time frame is a big deal for me. That’s why I go so hard and continue to represent. It’s bigger than me. ”


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