Facts you need to know about ‘Semper Fi’ below
Jamel Herring is the man who stands in Carl Frampton’s way of securing a legacy in boxing history on April 3 in Dubai, as the legendary Irishman attempts to win a world title at a third weight category at the expense of the reigning WBO World super-featherweight champion.
But who is the defending champion? BBN have found out some little-known facts about the American hero:
Jamel Herring was born on October 30, 1985, in Rockville Centre, New York, to Michael Mitchell and Jeanine Herring. His mother remarried to Harry Elliby and he was raised in Gordon Heights, Coram. He attended Longwood High School, with another successful pro boxer - Cletus Seldin.
He began boxing in 2001, aged 15/16, with trainer Austin Hendrickson.
Jamel suffered the worst tragedy imaginable when his daughter, Ariyanah, passed away from sudden death infant syndrome (SIDS) in 2009, aged just two months. The condition is extremely rare, recorded at a rate of 0.05% according to US government figures.
Everything Jamel does in his career and life is to keep the memory of his late daughter alive. He explained, “Every time I feel I’m starting down the wrong path, I think of her. What would she think if I was to do this? It keeps me on the right track and I have more joy today than I did 10 years back when the tragedy happened.”
Now based in Cincinnati, Herring has a large family consisting of children Kamren (2004); Stephen (2007); Jamel Jr. (2010); Jazmyne (2013); Justice (2017).
Jamel married childhood sweetheart, Jennifer Dickerson, on September 26, 2015.
In 2003, Herring enlisted into the US Marine Corps to serve his country in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He served in two tours of Iraq. He was inspired by the history of Marines that went on to become world champion boxers and looked up to ex-Marines Leon Spinks and Ken Norton.
The memories of the Iraq war left the retired marine, who earned the rank of Sargeant, with depression and PTSD, especially after losing his best friend, Stephen Brown. They met when Jamel was only six and lived across the street from each other, shortly after his mother regained custody of him. Stephen was a year older and joined the Marines the year before Herring did, then sadly passed away from lung cancer on December 12, 2004. It was Stephen who introduced Jamel to boxing and became the biggest influence in his life, which is why the grieving friend named his son 'Stephen', born in 2007, in tribute to his best friend.
Jamel led the US team in the London 2012 Olympics and became the first serving Marine to qualify for the US boxing team since 1992. The opening Olympic ceremonies was the (third) anniversary of his daughter's passing, which Jamel bravely spoke about, “It let me know that, no matter what, you can still accomplish anything, even through ups and downs.” As the Captain, he led a US Team consisting of Errol Spence; Claressa Shields; Marcus Browne; Rau'shee Warren; Terrell Gausha; Michael Hunter; and Dominic Breazeale.
He compiled a record of 81-15 as an amateur, mostly while serving a full nine years in the Marines. He won a gold medal in the US National Amateur Championships in 2012, and it's recorded that his first ever loss as an amateur was to the 'Miracle Man' Daniel Jacobs in the 2002 New York Junior Olympics finals.
Jamel says that boxing, widely regarded as the hardest sport in the world, is actually quite therapeutic for him after all of the heartbreak he has had to endure during his life.
He said, “I’ve suffered loss in life. I lost a daughter, I lost friends in the military. I always look back and don’t take things for granted. Boxing, for me, has been therapeutic.”
Jamel is one of only three world champions from Long Island, which includes Buddy McGirt and Chris Algieri.
Herring has had the best possible preparation for this world title defence by sparring with P4P great, Terence Crawford, in Nebraska.
Trained by former US National Coach Mike Stafford, Herring became a world champion when he defeated the reigning ruler Masayuki Ito in May 2019, and has defended the WBO belt twice to Lamont Roach in his first defence in November 2019, then to Jonathan Oquendo in September 2020.
He refers to himself as a ‘regular human being’ with a new platform available to him as a world champion and a responsibility to be open and share his experiences to help others.
He said, “I look at it as the responsibility of a true champion to share my story. Potentially, I can help save someone’s life and put them on the right path.”
The nickname ‘Semper Fi’ is a Latin phrase (Semper fidelis in full) which simply means ‘Always loyal’ or ‘Always faithful’. It is the motto of the US Marine Corps, which is thought to have originated from ancient Rome.
Ring Magazine #5
Height: 5’ 10”
2009 US National Amateur Championships quarter-finalist
2010 US Armed Forces Championships Silver medalist
2010 World Military Games Silver medalist
2011 US Armed Forces Championships Gold medalist
2011 US National Amateur Championships quarter-finalist
2011 Olympic Trials Champion
2012 US Armed Forces Championships Gold medalist
2011 US National Amateur Championships Gold medalist
2012 America's Olympic Qualifier Silver semi-finalist
2012 Olympic Games US Team Captain
2018 - USBA Super-featherweight title
2019 - WBO World super-featherweight title