Jamal ‘Shango’ James 27-1 (12) claimed the interim WBA welterweight title with a 12-round unanimous decision victory over Thomas Dulorme 25-4-1 (16) at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Saturday night.
Dulorme put the pressure on in the early rounds, looking to close the distance and get inside. The fight was competitive through six frames but James pulled away in the last four rounds with his more accurate punches.
James was awarded the victory by scores of 115-113, 116-112, 117-111.
“I’ve been working so long for a title shot,” James said. “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 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.”
Both men were very active, each throwing over 770 punches, but it was James holding the advantage in both punches landed (204 to 115) and accuracy (26% to 15%).
Dulorme, 30, said afterward: “I landed a good shot on him in the second round, but I couldn’t land it again. I couldn’t get inside on him the way that I wanted to after that round, and that made it a tough fight.”
The 32-year-old James said the plan was always to beat Dulorme in the later rounds.
“Dulorme brought the heat tonight,” said 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 said he would like the opportunity to face any of the top opponents in the talent-laden welterweight division.
“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.”