We have officially arrived at the start of back-to-back holidays if you are a Marine veteran or currently serving in the active component of the Marine Corps. Today marks the 248th birthday of the United States Marine Corps, and one of its veterans, former WBO super featherweight champion Jamel ‘Semper Fi’ Herring (24-4, 12 KOs), scored a first-round knockout victory on Tuesday night as he honored his fellow veterans this week.
The 38-year-old former champion from Coram, NY, was out of the ring for nearly eighteen months as he contemplated whether or not he wanted to return to the ring. After getting the itch to return, he signed with Dibella Entertainment and had his first fight back on Tuesday, which streamed live on DAZN. There were fans of the sport questioning whether he still had anything left to offer, and maybe Herring had a few of his own coming into the fight, but after scoring the knockout, he knew he was right back where he needed to be.
“I’m actually more shocked as I wanted to get some ring rust off, but as you can see, I didn’t have much time (laughs). Throughout my career, I’m used to fighting off the back foot, but, in that fight, I was leading the attack more, but I was also more calm and composed.” Herring continued, “I just wanted to show that I still have my reflexes and that the power is still there. Those are the things that I took away from the fight. It was more to show people what I still had left in me and how I react to being in the ring again.”
The former champion is anxious to get back in the ring. As he mentioned in his post-fight interview, Herring reiterated that he doesn’t mind doing a European tour, which means facing the likes of Joe Cordina, Leigh Wood & Josh Warrington. Herring wants to stay busy and fight at least three times in 2024, but if those fights don’t materialize, he doesn’t mind taking on mid-tier competition to stay sharp.
Herring also has his eye on Lamont Roach Jr., who will face Hector Luis Garcia later this month for the WBA title. A rematch of their 2019 fight would also be of interest not only to Herring but also to Roach Jr. His victory helped regain momentum and could potentially get him ranked once again with one of the four sanctioning bodies. “I know the WBC is talking about putting me back in their rankings after my recent victory.” That could mean a potential fight with current champion O’Shaquie Foster if the fight can be made later next year.
As Herring contemplates what's next with his team, today is dedicated to the Marine Corps Birthday, which means contacting those he served with and catching up with what they have going on in their lives. Herring told ProBoxTV, “I’m just speaking to fellow Marines who I served with in the past and who I haven’t seen in over like ten years. They’re still on my phone, as I still have my Camp Lejeune number (laughs). They’re calling me, congratulating me on my win, and catching up. It’s more of a family thing with us Marines. It’s always good to sit back and talk about old stories. I’m still enjoying my victory, but more importantly, I’m glad to still represent the Marine Corps on a bigger platform.”
Everyone’s talking about how they looked @ 19. Well here’s me, during my first deployment. 2 years later I would be deployed again to Iraq, and @AFNtelevision aired De La Hoya vs. Mayweather. I only hoped that I could return to the states and box again… funny how things play out pic.twitter.com/8uwY4m3AiY— Jamel Herring (@JamelHerring) November 10, 2023
Although Herring won’t be able to do it today, he will be traveling to Camp Lejeune, NC, next week to celebrate the Marine Corps Birthday with Marines from the 2nd Marine Logistics Group, as the Birthday Ball is the biggest event for a Marine each year. “I’m going to the Ball! Nothing beats a Marine Corps Ball. This year, I was asked by my old unit to be a guest at their Ball, so I will be there next week. I’m looking forward to it.”
Herring will continue his boxing career and has the potential of another world title opportunity. While that continues to be discussed, Herring will take these next few days to help honor those who served with him and are currently serving in the military the only way he knows how: the Marine Corps way.