Jamal James Edges Abel Ramos in Minneapolis
By: Andrew Johnson
Jamal “Shango” James outlasted a sturdy and persistent Abel Ramos last Friday night in front of a loud, partisan crowd at the Armory in snowy Minneapolis. He won by the slimmest of margins, splitting the judges 95-95, 96-94, 96-94.
Clearly enthused to be fighting at home, James came storming out of the gate throwing flurries of punches behind sharp double and triple jabs. He appeared intent on scoring another early knockdown, building on the third-round KO he registered in December against Diego Chaves.
Photo Credit: Brian Schroeder / Premier Boxing Champions
Abel Ramos looked very comfortable at 147 lbs. and weathered the first-round storm. He steadied himself in his corner and launched his own offensive in the 2nd round, catching James with a left hook that nearly flattened the hometown fighter.
“I caught him with some tough shots and he was shaking them off,” James told the Boxing Insider immediately after the fight, “so I knew I had to keep boxing him.”
James’ strategy to use his length and quickness to outbox the shorter, slower Ramos proved to be a winning formula, but the victory wasn’t as easy or as decisive as Shango had hoped. In the first half of the fight, Ramos absorbed combination after combination from James, but he never flinched. In fact, Ramos kept pursuing the quicker fighter and by the middle of the fight he was starting to land with more success.
Solidifying his reputation as a difficult target, James ducked, dodged and leaned away from Ramos’ power shots. “I got slick on the inside because I knew he was going to keep pressuring me.” James said about his mid-fight strategy.
James was also aided by the 3,500 fans who braved the weather to back one of the best prospects Minneapolis has produced in the last two decades. Chants of “Shango! Shango! Shango!” started in the third round and were repeated throughout the fight. James appeared to draw energy from the supporting crowd in the late rounds when he was cut over his ear and losing steam.
The Armory felt like it was made for the sweet science and is poised to host future fights. It was a reminder that live boxing is best when the crowd has skin in the game and is emotionally invested in the main event. The vocal fans may have nudged a round or two on the judges’ scorecards towards James, as a number of rounds could have gone either way.
The WBA was already on board with Jamal James as a top contender at welterweight and it will be interesting to see if this fight will improve his standing with the other sanctioning bodies.
In the locker room after the victory, Shango was both elated and palpably relieved. He came through in the biggest fight of his life and defeated a tough opponent in front of his friends, family and a national audience.
PBC on ESPN Results: Ugas and Flores Win Decision Victories
PBC on ESPN Results: Ugas and Flores Win Decision Victories
By: William Holmes
The Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona New York was the host site for the night’s PBC on ESPN broadcast. King’s Promotion was the lead promoter for tonight’s card.
The co-main event of the night was between late replacement Jamal James (20-0) and former Cuban amateur standout Yordenis Ugas (15-3) in the welterweight division.
Jamal James took the fight on short notice and replaced undefeated Bryant Perella who had to withdraw due to an injury to his hand.
Ugas, a former Olympic bronze medalist, was surprisingly caught with a lot of jabs and quick combinations to the head in the opening round. However, Ugas stayed consistent with his attacks to the body and looked to work the trunk of his lanky opponent.
By the second round Ugas must have realized that the power of James would not hurt him, as he walked forward more and focused on snapping the energy of James with right hooks to the body. James was matching Ugas punch
for punch in the fourth round, but Ugas’ punches were getting through James guard at a higher clip.
The pace favored Ugas in the middle rounds, and he stayed patient and was crisp with his counter rights and even knocked out the mouthpiece of James in the sixth round. James’ looked like he was tiring in the eighth and ninth rounds and did not have the ability to seriously hurt Ugas, who looked like he was content on winning a decision victory.
Ugas returned from a two year layoff to win the decision victory with scores of 99-91, 98-92, and 96-94.
The main event of the evening was a super featherweight belt between Miguel Flores (20-0) and Ryan Kielczweski (25-1).
Neither boxer was known for their power and both fought out of an orthodox stance.
Kielczweski looked to be bigger and thicker than Flores, but he could not match the speed of Flores. Flores focused his attacks to the body of Kielczweski in the opening two rounds, and besides a right hand from Kielczweski in the opening round on a backward moving Flores, Flores dominated Kielczweski with a high volume of shots to the body.
Kielczweski was able to momentarily trap Flores by the ropes in the opening minute of the third round and land some good shots to the body, but Flores ‘ work rate was just too much for Kielczweski to keep up with.
Flores remained in control in the fourth and fifth rounds and the cumulative effects of his punches were starting to wear down Kielczweski. He remained in the pocket several times and freely threw quick combinations at Kielczweski, but Kielczweski did have his moments in the fifth round.
Kielczweski pressed the pace in the sixth round but Flores was able to deftly stick and move and avoid taking any serious damage. Kielczweski took several more hard combinations in the seventh round but showed he had the chin to take the best shots of Flores.
Kielczweski fought valiantly in the final three rounds, and was able to land some of his power shots, but Flores landed two punches to every one that Kielczweski landed.
Miguel Flores remained undefeated with a decision victory with scores of 97-93, 96-94, and 96-94.