In the last two years, Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring has reached the pinnacle of his career in his mid-30’s. The former United States Marine is coming off of what is likely his most significant win to date—a sixth-round technical knockout of former two-division world champion Carl Frampton in April. And on October 23, Herring will have the opportunity to earn another career-defining win and to continue building his championship legacy.
Herring (23-2, 11KO) will attempt to make the fourth successful defense of his WBO super featherweight (130 lbs) title, when he meets former featherweight (126 lbs) titleholder Shakur Stevenson (16-0, 8KO). The bout will headline a Top Rank on ESPN card from the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.
“Semper Fi” won the WBO strap when he outpointed Masayuki Ito over 12 rounds in May 2019. With his in-ring skills and down-to-earth, friendly persona outside of it, Herring became a hot item in the boxing public. But after a less than stellar performance against Lamont Roach Jr. later that year, the COVID-19 pandemic, and two delayed fight dates due to catching the virus in 2020, Herring’s momentum had stalled just a bit. And when he did make his return against Jonathon Oquendo that September, it ended in an ugly eighth-round disqualification win for Herring after being headbutted repeatedly. However, with the dominant win over Frampton and his upcoming defense against Stevenson, he seems to be on the right path towards super featherweight supremacy.
The much younger Stevenson, 24, is viewed by many to be a future pound-for-pound talent. In just his 13th pro bout, he captured the WBO featherweight title with a unanimous decision win over Joet Gonzalez in October 2019. Instead of defending the belt, Stevenson decided to move up to super featherweight, where he picked up two wins in 2020—a sixth-round knockout of Felix Caraballo and a unanimous decision over Toka Khan Clary. Then, in June of this year, he outpointed Jeremy Nakathila to win the WBO interim title and put himself in a position to challenge Herring for the championship.
Despite the 11 year age gap, both Herring and Stevenson have plenty in common. Both are former U.S. Olympic southpaws who fight for Top Rank Boxing. They also have the potential to reach pound-for-pound status, which a win on October 23 could certainly help. Other big matchups could be on the horizon as well, including a big unification fight with WBC titleholder Oscar Valdez.
Fighter’s Form (last 5 fights):
Carl Frampton - WIN by TKO 6 - 03/04/2021
Jonathon Oquendo - WIN by DQ 8 - 05/09/2020
Lamont Roach Jr. - WIN by UD (117-111 x 2, 115-113) - 09/11/2019
Masayuki Ito- WIN by UD (118-110 x 2, 116-112) - 25/05/2019
Adeilson Dos Santos - WIN by UD (80-70 x 3) - 14/12/2018
Jeremy Nakathila - WIN by UD (120-107 x 3) - 12/06/2021
Toka Khan Clary - WIN by UD (100-90 x 3) - 12/12/2020
Felix Caraballo - WIN by KO 6 - 09/06/2020
Joet Gonzalez - WIN by UD (119-109 x 3) - 26/10/2019
Alberto Guevara - WIN by KO 3 - 13/07/2019
Date: October 23rd, 2021
Time: 2am (GMT), 7pm (PT), 10pm (ET)
Venue: State Farm Arena, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Channel: Top Rank on ESPN
Elsewhere on the card
In the co-main event, 19-year-old super welterweight prospect Xander Zayas (10-0, 7KO) will face off against Dan Karpency (9-3-1, 4KO) in a six-round bout. Also on the card is Muhammad Ali’s grandson, Nico Ali Walsh (1-0, 1KO) meeting James Westley II (1-0) in a four-round middleweight attraction.