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Jackson Jon England out to channel his inner Sugar Ray Leonard against Jamel Herring


Junior lightweight Jackson Jon England is ready to step up another level when he takes on former WBO 130-pound titleholder Jamel Herring over 10 rounds at 36ers Arena in Adelaide, Australia on April 3.

It’s a big opportunity for the Penrith-born, Perth-based boxer-puncher to prove to a global audience that he can mix it with the best.

While England will be aiming to make a name for himself, the 38-year-old Herring will be looking to kickstart his career. The Cincinnati, Ohio southpaw has boxed just once since his points loss to Jamaine Ortiz in May 2022, a first-round blowout of undefeated but overmatched Nicholas Molina last November.

Herring (24-4, 12 knockouts) believes he can recapture the previous form that saw him reign as WBO titleholder just over three years ago. It’s Jackson’s job to beat that belief out of him.

“I personally believe that timing is key, but I don’t take anything away from Jamel and I’m expecting him to be at his best,” England (15-3, 8 KOs) told The Ring. “Regardless of what he brings, I’m focusing 100% on myself. I think at 38, from what I’ve seen, maybe he’s a little bit weathered. But he did start boxing professionally very late, I think he might’ve been 27. But he’s a former Marine, a former Olympian, he’s mixed it with the best.

“He was the number one super featherweight in the world. He had the WBO title when he fought the likes of Carl Frampton, Shakur Stevenson, all these big names. And you can’t take that away from him. He’s been to the pinnacle of boxing and for me to get this opportunity against someone of that caliber, I’m nothing but grateful.

“But I’m ready for whatever Jamel Herring brings to the table. I know for a fact that whatever he brings, you’re going to see 100% out of me. I like fighting people at their best, because it brings out the best in me.”

It wasn’t that long ago that the name Jackson Jon England would’ve drawn shrugs and blank stares from Aussie boxing fans.

The 26-year-old has risen from relative obscurity in the past two years with solid performances against top domestic talent Liam Wilson, Nathaniel May and Paul Fleming to establish himself as one of the most consistently entertaining boxers in the Antipodes.

Much of his early career was spent boxing in the West Australian capital of Perth, where he became a mainstay on the regular ‘Thunderdome’ cards promoted by Tony Tolj’s Dragon Fire Promotions. Twelve of his first 14 bouts took place on these shows, away from the bright lights of the east coast. Only the most hardcore of fight fans were aware of his talent.

That was until he offered the opportunity two years ago to face Paul Fleming, an immensely talented Aboriginal southpaw out of Sydney who represented Australia at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Early on in his career Fleming caught the eye of Bob Arum and was signed to Top Rank, but he was eventually dropped from the American promoter’s roster and devolved to a once-a-year boxer who relied on his natural athletic gifts to remain undefeated.

England gave him one of the toughest tests of his career, losing a razor-thin decision by scores of 94-95 twice and 92-97. While he lost his zero, England won over a host of admirers.

But that is when the law of unintended consequences kicked in. England’s performance was so good, his phone went silent.

“The Fleming fight was my breakthrough fight. I was looking for that fight for maybe two, three years. When I got the call about that I was like, yep, put me in. I was very excited,” England explained.

“Then after that fight I was l was looking to get back in the ring for 15 or 16 months. I was trying to get on every card that I could, then I had a change of management with my uncle Noel Thornberry. It was very, very hard to get a fight after Fleming, despite the loss. We were looking down all types of avenues as well. I just want to fight constantly. I’ve got a very old school mentality. Even still, we were struggling to get matchups.”

England blew out the cobwebs with a decision win over .500 Shiva Mishra last July before jumping straight back into the ring against former sparring partner Nathaniel ‘Cheeky’ May on the undercard of Tim Tszyu’s WBO junior middleweight title fight against Brian Mendoza in October.

The winner of England vs May was promised a shot at former world title challenger Liam Wilson.

Drawing on the hundred of rounds of sparring experience he had with May, England was able to overcome some difficult moments in the fight to engineer a 10-round split decision victory and earn himself a shot at the battle-tested Wilson on the Sam Goodman versus Zhong Liu card exactly two months later.

This time the cards didn’t fall his way. England started well enough and controlled much of the first half of the bout, but Wilson worked his way into the fight in the mid-rounds and came home with a wet sail. Wilson won the bout by scores of 96-94 twice and 97-93, but England proved he was not out of his depth at this level.

“From what I was told, after the Wilson fight my stock went up dramatically even though I didn’t get the decision on that night,” England said. “If I lose fair and square, I can take that and at the end of the day, it’s professional boxing. But I was very adamant that I won the fight.

“To get the fights with Nathaniel and Liam after being unable to find an opponent for 16 months was unbelievable. The activity has been amazing. To have back-to-back fights like that, it just gives me more self-belief knowing that that I can mix it up with these guys.”

Which bring us back to the Herring bout, which will be England’s fourth fight in a little over eight months.

England, who styles himself after Sugar Ray Leonard – “the man who could do anything” – says he is ready to adapt to any style of fight the Herring wants.

“What I see with Herring is that he’s a very tidy southpaw, he likes to stay at range and he doesn’t like to work too much,” England assessed. “When at range and he’s got his rhythm, he’s got his distance, he’s happy to do the minimal amount of work as long as it works for him. I’m a very explosive fighter; I can mix it up, I can box, I can move. I can do everything. I see myself being able to exploit his laziness, his slower reaction times.

“I definitely have a feeling that I’m a lot sharper and faster, but I also know that I will probably be a lot stronger physically as well.”

He added that controlling the tempo will be crucial against the older fighter.

“I will not be letting him sit and have his way. That’s something I’m very good at as well. I don’t let people off. At the same time, if I want to sit there and I want to box and I want to move, I can do that as well,” said England.

“But if the intensity needs to lift, I know I can do that too. We know that Herring we be quite crafty and he has that great American style as well, with Philly shell and that southpaw position, and add to that he’s very long as well, so he likes to stay at range.

“I know I can close the gap but I can also box him from the outside, I just have to not let him dictate the tempo.”

With Australian boxing going through a purple patch right now, England is determined to prove he belongs on the world stage alongside the best this country has to offer.

“I think the Americans kind of take Australian boxing for granted,” he said. “They overlook us a little bit. You look at the current Australian fighters like Jai Opetaia and Tim Tszyu, we have guys competing at the top level and proving they belong there.

“We’re able to mix it with the best in the world and I deserve a spot at that table.”

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