Jamel Herring/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions
Jamel Herring of Cincinnati is 15-0 with eight knockouts, but he is unranked. That makes his fight Saturday with ranked fighter Denis Shafikov in Reading, Pa., the biggest opportunity of his career to date.
The two will square off in the 10-round lightweight main event at Santander Arena (on ESPN).
“I have a great deal of respect for Shafikov,” said Herring, 30. “Tough guy, experienced, but he had his chance and it’s my time now. This is my toughest fight on paper, but I feel good. It’s my time to earn my respect.”
Shafikov, 31, is from Russia. He is 36-2-1 with 19 knockouts and is ranked as high as No. 9. To Herring, a victory over Shafikov could go a long way.
“I believe a win will open the doors for a world title,” Herring said. “In my mind, I am taking this fight as a world-title fight. That is how important this fight is and before the end of the year, I hope to get a crack at a world title.”
As for Shafikov, he has twice fought for world titles with no success. He wants another shot.
“I accepted this fight because a win gets us in line for big opportunities, including another shot at a world championship,” Shafikov said.