Jamel Herring, pictured with WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford, defeated Masayuki Ito on Saturday night (Photo: Mikey Williams – Top Rank)
By Chris Robinson
Former U.S. Olympian and Marine Corps veteran Jamel Herring pulled off a tremendous upset last night in defeating former champion Masayuki Ito over 12 rounds. The victory took place in front of a sold-out crowd (2,912 spectators) at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, FL, with ESPN televising.
“Semper Fi” Herring is now the WBO junior lightweight champ, while “The Judge” Ito will have to cope with his second career defeat. Herring (20-2, 10 KOs) prevailed by scores of 116-112 and 118-110 twice, while also fulfilling his dream on Memorial Day weekend in front of a host of active and reserve U.S. Marines.
“I want to dedicate this fight to my daughter, Ariyanah, who passed away from SIDs,” Herring said afterwards. “Tonight would have been her 10th birthday, and I dedicate this title to her. Ito was a tough competitor, but I always believed I could win a world title. This is a dream come true, and to do this on Memorial Day weekend makes it even sweeter.”
Ito (25-2-1, 13 KOs), was looking for a successful second defense of his world title, but could never get on track during the fight. Herring started and closed the fight strong, using body work, and his boxing ability, to set himself apart.
Herring’s promoter, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, shared his thoughts.
“When we signed Jamel, a lot of people had their doubts, but he showed the heart of a world champion,” said Arum. “He’s a true Marine and an American hero. We are so proud of what this young man has accomplished.”
By Chris Robinson can be reached at CRobinson@hustleboss.com