Third time the charm? Herring is eager for his title defense

It has been a crazy few months for the WBO super featherweight champion. Jamel Herring will be defending his title against Jonathan Oquendo on Saturday and he has gone through a few obstacles to get to this point. The fight was originally scheduled in June but before Herring reached Las Vegas, he tested positive for COVID-19. He went through the quarantine process and after a couple weeks he was clear of the virus. Once that passed, the fight was rescheduled for July and Herring was prepared to fight as he was in Vegas. On July 11th, he tested positive again for COVID-19 but the antibody test that was taken on the 13th was negative. As a result, the fight was postponed a second time.

Now we are two days away from this fight taking place, Herring is looking forward to getting in the ring. While the setbacks have been frustrating for the former Marine, he has accepted it and now is prepared for Saturday.

“I just feel like everything happens for a reason,” Herring said at the press conference. “It’s not like I was the only one suffering. It’s a global pandemic, so I can’t really complain too much. I’m just glad that I have a great team.”

Jamel Herring is thankful that he can now defend his WBO title on Saturday night. Photo by Mikey WIlliams of Top Rank

That team includes head trainer Brian “BoMac” McIntyre, who has himself a stable of fighters that are current and former world champions including Terence Crawford, Rob Brant, and Maurice Hooker. McIntyre also trains Steven Nelson who will be fighting on the same card against DeAndre Ware. Herring gives credence towards the fighters that he trains with and the team for keeping him sharp despite all of the delays.

“I was still fortunate to have training camp. Being around {Terence Crawford}, Steven Nelson, Rob Brant, Maurice Hooker…I’m just grateful.”

His opponent is someone who knows the opportunity ahead of him. Last year, he lost by decision to Lamont Roach who went on to face Herring months later. After a win against Carlos Huerta in November, Oquendo now is in the position to win a world title. The 16 year veteran has had a world title shot before, but now he feels that this is his time to be champion.

“I’m 37 years old, but mentally, I’m prepared,” Oquendo said at the press conference. “I believe this is the perfect time for me to fight for a world title. I want to show the world what I’m capable of doing. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity.”

He was disappointed when the news came down of the fight being postponed in June and in July but believed that his shot would come. Now after almost three months from the original date, it is finally here.

“I knew things were going to be OK. I understand the position of my opponent. I was worried about the fight never happening, but I had faith in Top Rank, and I know they do a good job. I’m ready to go for it Saturday night.”

While there is talk about Herring going up against Carl Frampton later this year, he is not overlooking Oquendo. Herring is focusing on the task at hand and will make sure that he does what he needs to do on Saturday.

“I’m not really worried about what’s going on in the future because we’ve seen upsets…we’re focused on the now,” Herring said. “I’m just excited to be back. I’m not really worried about who’s next…in order to get to that next step, I gotta take care of business this weekend.”

Cover photo by Mikey Williams of Top Rank


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