Minneapolis welterweight hope Jamal James passed his toughest examination to date with a clear, but hard-fought decision over Puerto Rican contender Thomas Dulorme at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Saturday night,
Scores were 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113. With the victory, James won the vacant WBA interim title at 147lbs, which, in theory, gives him a chance of facing the organisation’s Super champion Manny Pacquiao.
“Obviously, I would like to get a shot at Manny Pacquiao, he’s got the WBA super title,” said James. “But I know he’s such a big name, so it really doesn’t matter. I want any of the big name welterweights, we can really put on a good show.
“I’ve been working so long for a title shot. So being able to get this opportunity and then actually following through and winning, it just meant the world to me. It’s been a crazy journey, with this with Covid-19, and then the George Floyd incident [in James’ hometown] and starting camps and then stopping and so forth.
“My grandmother ended up passing away when I was in camp for this fight. So it was a lot of mixed emotions for me. It just feels good to be able to bring this back home for my city. Now we’ll see how much farther I can go.
“Dulorme brought the heat tonight,” added James. “I thought I was going to be able to move around a little bit more but he caught me with a couple of nice shots. He caught me with a good shot on the nose and it started leaking pretty bad. He’s a strong fighter, so I just had to be careful not to get hit too flush with anything. Luckily, I’m able to take a hard shot.
“I knew that he kind of gets tired in the later rounds from the fights that we watched. So, I was really just trying to let him throw, stop the shots, then maybe catch him with something in between his shots. I kind of wanted to rope a dope him a little bit. But he was in shape. He was pushing in those later rounds.”
James (27-1, 12 KOs) overcame a bloody nose that started leaking in the second as well as a heavy right hand from Dulorme at the end of the round that didn’t bode well for his chances. He regrouped to unleash some eye-catching combinations in the third.
Dulorme (25-4-1, 16 KOs) hurt James to the body in a lively sixth, but the Minneapolis fighter’s heavier hooks took over later in the session as the Puerto Rican was warned for hitting on the break and rabbit punching.
The body blows of the Puerto Rican were an ever-present threat, but James used his range to pull away on the cards in the championship rounds. A welt swelled up under Dulorme’s left eye in eleventh after a headclash, but James boxed ably down the stretch to seal a crucial victory.
“I landed a good shot on him in the second round, but I couldn’t land it again,” lamented Dulorme, who had previously drawn with Jessie Vargas and lost a WBO 140lbs title tilt against Terence Crawford. “I couldn’t get inside on him the way that I wanted to after that round, and that made it a tough fight.”
We may be in the midst of a global pandemic, but the WBA is still handing out belts like there is no tomorrow.
In just his third pro fight, hot prospect David Morrell, Jr. (3-0, 2 KOs) won the vacant WBA interim crown at 168lbs with a unanimous decision over previously undefeated Lennox Allen (22-1-1, 14 KOs).
Scores were 120-108, 119-109 and 118-110. Morrell’s body assault paved the way for a clear victory as the Brooklyn-based Allen struggled with the pace and intensity. Allen tried to rough up the Cuban maestro but was hurt in the 10thround from a two-fisted barrage of blows. Still just 22, Morrell is one to watch and already a ‘champion’ of sorts.
In other action, welterweight Luke Santamaria (11-1-1, 7 KOs) trumped Mykal Fox (22-2, 5 KOs) on the cards. Scores were 99-90, 97-92 and 96-93. Also at 147lbs, 18-year-old prospect Vito Mielnicki Jr. (6-0, 4 KOs) halted Chris Rollins (3-2, 2 KOs) in the second.
Meanwhile, heavyweight Michael Coffie (10-0, 7 KOs) proved too strong for Luis Pena (6-1, 6 KOs) earning a fifth-round win and unbeaten 140-pounder Omar Juarez (8-0, 4 KOs) outscored Willie Shaw (12-2, 8 KOs) over six rounds. Scores were 60-54, 59-55 and 58-56.
Main image: Sean Michael Ham/TGB Promotions.