James turns in the finest performance of his career, overcoming a strong Dulorme to win the vacant WBA Interim World Welterweight title on Saturday night in the return of FOX PBC Fight Night.
Jamal James knew what was at stake on Saturday night.
Not only was James fighting Thomas Dulorme for the vacant WBA Interim World Welterweight title, this was his first headliner on FOX PBC Fight Night on FOX and FOX Deportes. This was his moment to shine.
A decisive win could mean a shot at one of the big name, big money bouts in the welterweight division.
With all that on the line, the 32-year-old James delivered the finest performance of his career, outboxing and, when necessary, outbrawling Dulorme to win a 12-round unanimous decision at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California.
“I’ve been working so long for a title shot, man,” James said afterward. “So being able to get this opportunity and then actually following through and winning it just meant the world to me.
“It’s been a crazy journey, with this with COVID-19, and then the George Floyd incident and then, you know, starting camps and then stopping and so forth. My grandmother ended up passing away when I was in camp for this fight. So it was a lot of mixed emotions for me. It just feels good to be able to, you know, bring this back home for my city. Now we’ll see how much farther I can go.”
James (27-1, 12 KOs) is now in line to face WBA Super titleholder Manny Pacquiao, or the winner of the September 6 FOX PBC Fight Night clash between Yordenis Ugas and Abel Ramos, which will be for another version of the WBA title.
Either way, the pride of Minneapolis has positioned himself among the elite at 147. And he did it in style, facing a formidable opponent.
“Dulorme brought the heat tonight. I thought I was going to be able to move around a little bit more but he caught me with a couple of nice shots,” James admitted. “He’s a strong fighter. So I just had to be careful not to get hit too flush with anything. Luckily, I’m able to take a hard shot.”
He took a few in the early going. After a feel-out opener, both fighters dug in during a fiery second round. Toward the end of the frame, Dulorme trapped James along the ropes and landed two hard right rights. James returned to his corner pawing at his bloody nose after the round ended.
The back and forth continued in the third, each fighter taking turns landing power punches. James went back to boxing in the fourth and the fifth, using his jab and angles to keep Dulorme off-balance.
However, a war broke out again in the sixth, the see-saw battle making the rounds difficult to score. The fight was still up for grabs heading into the second half. That’s when James found his rhythm, outboxing Dulorme from the outside.
“I had the range and the height on him, so I just had to box,” James said. “I wanted to let my hands go a little bit more, but he had funny timing. So any time I would try to get in a longer combination, he would let something go. So I just kept boxing him, kind of pot-shotting a little bit.”
Dulorme, 30, 25-4-1 (16 KOs), continued to apply serious pressure yet struggled to land meaningful shots. James, on the other hand, began finding a home for his right hand—and a left hook behind it. Going into the 12th, Dulorme needed a knockout to win. Yet it was James who landed the heavier blows, winning on all three cards by scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113.
Omar Juarez outpoints Willie Shaw to remain undefeated
The athletic—and tricky—Shaw (12-2, 8 KOs) landed several quick rights early on. It wasn’t enough to phase Juarez, who may be only 21 but fights with a poise beyond his years.
Juarez (8-0, 4 KOs) landed the cleaner punches throughout, backing Shaw up and keeping him on the defensive. Final cards read 60-54, 59-55 and 58-56.
David Morrell Jr. dominates Lennox Allen, wins interim 168-pound strap
Add David Morrell Jr. to the list of top-end talent in the stacked super middleweight division.
In just his third pro bout, the 22-year-old Morrell captured the interim WBA World Super Middleweight title with an impressive 12-round unanimous decision win over previously-unbeaten Lennox Allen.
Entering the bout, Morrell (3-0, 2 KOs) had fought less than three rounds collectively in his pro career, compared to Allen’s 121. But on this night, the former Cuban amateur standout went a full 12 with ease, maintaining a consistent pace and improving as the bout progressed.
Judge Lou Moret had it 120-108, Fernando Villareal scored it 119-109 and Steve Morrow 118-110.
Morrell controlled the action from the opening bell, wading in with right hooks and uppercuts from his southpaw stance. Guyana’s Allen was game, landing his own share of shots during the exchanges, including a stiff right hook late in the third.
Those punches were few and far between. Morrell completely took over in the third and never looked back.
Allen, 35, 22-1-1 (14 KOs), had no answers, his punch output decreasing as he searched for ways to land. Morrell poured it on in the eighth, landing a series of uppercuts on the inside. Another right hook in the 10th momentarily buzzed the durable Allen. Morrell sought to finish with a KO but it wasn’t to be. Nevertheless, he closed strong, serving notice to the rest of the division that there is a new kid on the block.
Luke Santamaria stuns Mykal Fox, wins decision
Santamaria flipped the script, dropping Fox early, maintaining the pressure and holding on to win a 10-round unanimous decision.
Santamaria (11-1-1, 7 KOs) came out swinging in the first, unloading a number of big hooks that caused Fox to sag and drop along the ropes. He rose quickly, seemingly unhurt, but now playing catch-up.
Fox (22-2, 5 KOs) attempted to use his height and reach to keep Santamaria at bay, but the former consistently breached his southpaw guard, doing enough effective work to win by scores of 99-90, 97-92 and 96-94.
Vito Mielnicki Jr. shines again, stops Chris Rollins in two
A right in the second drove Rollins (3-2, 2 KOs) across the ring. Mielnicki (6-0, 4 KOs) followed up with a volley, battering him until referee Jerry Cantu stepped in at 2:19 of the second.
Michael Coffie TKOs Luis Pena in five
Standing an imposing 6-foot-5 and weighing 279-pounds, Coffie is blessed with both size and skill. The former Marine utilized both to calmly break down the attacking Pena. A left hook dropped Pena in the third. He was down again in the fifth, and badly hurt, courtesy of more hooks. The follow-up flurry convinced referee Thomas Taylor to wave it off at 1:35 of the fifth.
For a closer look at James vs Dulorme, check out our fight night page.