By Cliff Rold
26-year old U.S. Marine and 2012 Light Welterweight Olympian Jamel Herring of Camp Lejune, North Carolina suffered the second consecutive defeat for the Americans, outmatched by 21-year old Daniyar Yeleussinov of Kazakhstan through all of their three rounds. Herring gave his best but came up well short by a score of 19-9 in the battle of southpaws.
Operating with a quick countering style, Yeleussinov struck first, his arms held long and Herring stepping into them for a quick right and left. Herring landed a nice right hook in the first half of the round, but struggled to get around the guard of Yeleussinov. Yeleussinov landed a big right with a minute to go and added two more clean, straight shots in a brief exchange. Herring mixed in a quick left but ate a right and left down the stretch. Yeleussinov opened an 8-5 lead.
Herring came out aggressive in the second and Yeleussinov held to slow him down. Both men whacked away in the clinch. Yeleussinov landed a stiff left down the pipe and then a head-jerking jab. Yeleussinov had his attacks timed and Herring wasn’t having much luck breaking the tide. Herring received a caution for palming but landed a body shot; Yeleussinov answered with a right. A quick right hook landed for Yeleussinov at the minute mark and action slowed. Herring landed an excellent body combination with about twenty seconds to go but the Kazakh landed back to the head for a 7-3 second round.
With three minutes to go on Herring’s Olympic dream, he was down 15-8.
Needing a dramatic save, Herring came out moving his hands. Yeleussinov was landing his. Aware of his lead, Yeleussinov circled the ring and did his best to make himself scarce, potshotting but not engaging. Herring obliged the tactic by following his man and walking into jabs and lead lefts. Herring missed a big shot as Yeleussinov leaned against the ropes near the minute mark. Herring managed only some body blows into the bell, still taking shots to the face as Yeleussinov closed with a 4-1 third.
Herring gave a military-like salute to the crowd and kept his held high despite the sure disappointment. Asked for televised comment following the contest, Herring understood his part in his loss. “I started a little too slow and my defense wasn’t at its best today.” Herring, a captain of Team USA, remained committed to his teammates. “I’m not done. That’s not how Marines operate. I’m not just gonna’ bail out because of my result today. I’m gonna’ be here, stick it out for my teammates, all the way through ‘til the last man standing. Doesn’t matter.”
Asked to reflect on personal adversity, including two tours in Iraq and the loss of a child, Herring was reflective. “It wasn’t easy of course, but I did what I had to do to get here. That says enough after everything I’ve been through.”
While Herring will head home without a medal, his class in defeat gave the world an example of what Semper Fidelis is all about.
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]