WBO super featherweight champion Jamel ‘Semper Fi’ Herring 21-2 (10) successfully defended his world title for the first time with a 12-round unanimous decision win over Lamont Roach Jr 19-1-1 (7) at Chukchansi Park in Fresno, California on Saturday night.
The 34-year-old southpaw from Cincinnati, Ohio was in control for much of the early action but had to rally to survive a fast finish from Roach in the later rounds in front of a live crowd of 7,412 fans.
Roach, 24, from Upper Marlboro in Maryland, landed a big right hand during the 11th frame that the champion reeling and continued his pressure in the 12th and final round, but he left his run too late.
At the conclusion of the contest judge Rey Danseco scored the bout 117-111, judge Max DeLuca had it slightly closer at 115-113, while judge Gary Ritter carded 117-111, all for the reigning champion.
“I won [the title] on Memorial Day Weekend and I defended it on Veterans Day Weekend, so it definitely means a lot to all of our troops out there defending our country and still in harm’s way,” said Herring, a US Marine Corps veteran.
“This is for ya’ll. I couldn’t lose it on our weekend. It means a lot to still be a world champion.”
Herring, who won the WBO belt from Masayuki Ito in May, called out WBC champion Miguel Berchelt 37-1 (33) after the fight.
“Like I said, Miguel Berchelt is considered number one, the best super featherweight in the world. In order to be the best, you have to keep testing yourself,” he said.
Roach said he knew he needed the knockout to win in the later rounds.
“We knew we had to dig down. When I hurt him, all that was on my mind was finishing him. I’m coming into unchartered territory,” he said.