Minneapolis, Minnesota (August 3, 2020) - Boxing is back and so is Minneapolis welterweight contender Jamal “Shango” James. With the return of live boxing, James is getting his long-awaited shot at a world title Saturday, August 8, as he takes on former world title challenger Thomas Dulorme for the WBA world interim welterweight championship in Los Angeles.
No fans will be in attendance, but the bouts will headline the return of FOX PBC Fight Night on FOX, FS1 and FOX Deportes, from the Microsoft Theater. FOX PBC Fight Night begins at 7 p.m. Central Time.
James (26-1, 12 knockouts) has been a local fan favorite and a huge draw at the Minneapolis Armory, where he has won four fights in a row against opponents with a combined record of 105-17-5.
Ranked No. 5 in the world by the World Boxing Association, James was scheduled to face Dulorme last April at the Armory. The fight was postponed because of the pandemic.
For James, Saturday’s fight is a chance to fulfill a lifelong dream. For Minnesota boxing fans, it’s a chance to see the local hero bring the belt home to Minneapolis and the Armory, a historic building with a rich boxing tradition.
James isn’t the only Minnesota fighter on the card. In another televised bout, David Morrell Jr. (2-0, two knockouts), a native of Cuba now fighting out of Minneapolis, will take on Lennox Allen (22-0-1, 14 knockouts) for the WBA interim super middleweight title.
"I'm focused and ready to get in the ring to win this title on August 8," said Morrell, an amateur standout who made his pro debut at the Armory last year. "Training is going really well and I've been working hard with my team day after day. I know that I have to prepare for everything and that I can't underestimate Allen. I want that belt, but I know he does too. I respect him as a person, but when I step into the ring I don't have friends, family or anything. It's just two fighters going after the same prize and I'm prepared to do what I have to do."
Minnesota fans gave James and Morrell a big send-off Monday at the Circle of Discipline in south Minneapolis, where both fighters train. Lining up along 12thAvenue near the gym, fans held up signs and shouted encouragement as the boxers made a stop on their way to the airport.
“My prediction is we both are going to come back to Minnesota with belts,” James said. “I feel extremely confident. I know he feels extremely confident and I'm grateful and extremely happy that we both can be on the same card coming out of the same gym out of the same city, the same state.”
James said it feels good to represent Minnesota and his community in a world championship fight.
“I’ve been asking for a title fight for a long time,” James said. “I've been in the pro game for a long time. I feel like it's an opportunity that is well overdue, but it's here so I’m going to take advantage of it. My number one goal right now is to secure this belt and bring it back to Minnesota. And then keep climbing from there.”
After boxing before a full house at the Armory in his most recent bouts, James will be in for a big change this Saturday as he fights in an empty arena. But the Minnesotan says he’s prepared for the challenge.
“Not to say that I don't love the audience, but when there is an audience -- especially fighting at home -- there's a little bit of added pressure,” James said. “And that can make you fight better or it can make you fight worse sometimes depending on who you are as a fighter, how you're able to deal with that pressure.
“Since there is no physical audience, I think I'll be able to focus a lot more on what I'm doing and I'll be able to hear my corner a lot better as they're giving me instructions while I'm in the fight. I personally think that it'll still make for a really great fight.”
Though he’s not looking past this fight, James said it would be great to return to the Armory as a reigning world champion.
“That would be perfect. The Armory has been a second home to me. It has really brought boxing back on a large scale in Minnesota, but not just locally. We've had some world-class fights in the Armory and I'm just happy to be a part of that. It feels extremely good to be a part of that history.”
The Armory has hosted fights featuring all-time greats that include Sugar Ray Robinson, Henry Armstrong and Fritzie Zivic, and local legends such as Glen Flanagan and Jack Gibbons. In 2019, the Armory hosted more PBC boxing cards than the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York.
About the Premier Boxing Champions Series
Premier Boxing Champions is a live boxing television series that features the greatest array of boxing talent in all weight divisions, with fighters representing over 10 countries including the United States and Mexico. From former Olympians to Champions of all nationalities, the series can be seen on various networks in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and many other countries.
About the Armory
The Minneapolis Armory is at 500 South 6th St. in Minneapolis. More information is at http://armorymn.com/. The media contact for Armory Boxing is publicist Robb Leer. You can call or email @ 612.701.0608 or Robbl@leercommunication.com .