Like most fighters, Jamel Herring eased into his career by facing opponents with limited professional experience. Over his last few bouts, though, the 2012 U.S. Olympian has stepped up the competition as he has moved into boxing's fast lane, and now he’s about to push the pedal to the metal.
For the second fight in a row, Jamel Herring (15-0, 8 KOs) will face his most accomplished opponent to date when he battles fellow southpaw Denis Shafikov (36-2-1, 19 KOs) on July 2 in a 135-pound scrap at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
The scheduled 10-round contest is the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card that also will feature undefeated Polish prospect Patryk Szymanski (15-0, 9 KOs) battling former 154-pound title challenger Wilky Campfort (21-2, 12 KOs) in a scheduled 10-round bout.
A 30-year-old Marine veteran from Cincinnati, Herring began ratcheting up his level of competition a year ago when he scored a unanimous decision over Mexican veteran Hector Velazquez, who entered the ring with 84 professional fights under his belt.
That victory was one of four in 2015 for Herring, capped by another unanimous decision on October 3, this one against Yakubu Amidu (21-7-2). He then kicked off 2016 with his most significant win to date, dropping Luis Eduardo Florez (21-2) twice in the fifth round en route to a near shutout 10-round victory on February 9.
“I am just excited about the fight,” Herring said. “I have been looking for a big step up to get me into title contention, [and] I feel after this fight, it will get me up to a championship fight.”
Herring, who represented the U.S. in the 2012 London Games after claiming the U.S. National Amateur title the same year, has won all but one of his pro fights by stoppage or unanimous decision. However, he’s yet to face a fighter with the talent and pedigree of Shafikov.
A hard-charging boxer-puncher from Miass, Russia, Shafikov has fought in eight countries since turning pro 12½ years ago. His two defeats came in 135-pound world title battles against Miguel Vazquez (February 2014) and Rances Barthelemy (December 2015), and although he dropped both by unanimous decision, Shafikov was highly competitive in each contest.
In between those losses, Shafikov reeled off a three victories in an 11-month span against a trio of accomplished foes, toppling Rustam Nugaev (27-6-1) by ninth-round TKO, Miguel Mendoza (21-4-2) by unanimous decision and Roy Mukhlis (27-4-3) by third-round TKO.
“He is a tough guy,” Herring said of the 5-foot-5 Shafikov. “But if you train hard and stay ready, you can make the fight a lot easier on yourself.”
Said Shafikov: “I am looking forward to facing Jamel Herring. He is undefeated and a former Olympian. But I have the experience of fighting for a title, and I know with a win, it will get me another opportunity.”
Szymanski is coming off a 10-round unanimous decision over Richard Gutierrez on October 16 in Chicago. That result halted the 23-year-old Szymanski’s streak of seven consecutive stoppage victories.
Campfort, who was born in Haiti and lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was last in the ring on November 28, when he suffered a fourth-round TKO loss to 154-pound champion Jermall Charlo in Dallas. It was Campfort’s first world title opportunity and snapped the 31-year-old’s 20-fight winning streak.
For a complete overview of Herring vs Shafikov, visit our fight page.