When Jamel Herring said he has gone through worse than the headbutt that Jonathan Oquendo gave him during their junior lightweight bout last week that led to Oquendo’s disqualification, he wasn’t joking.

Herring, who holds the WBO junior lightweight titleholder, sustained a cut over his right eye when Oquendo barged in with his head during the fifth round. Crucially, referee Tony Weeks ruled the clash as intentional, which set up the grounds for the DQ in the eighth; Weeks waved off the fight after Herring claimed he could not see out of his right eye.

Since then Herring (22-2, 10 KOs) says the injury has been healing just fine, but noted that the post-fight medical examination revealed that he was nursing a pre-existing injury that exacerbated the effects of the headbutt.

“The cut, to be honest, I didn’t have to get any stitches,” Herring told The 3 Knockdown Rule Podcast. “They used glue or whatever to close the cut and they kind of just let it heal like a regular scab.”

“The real injury was that he (Oquendo) had basically scraped my lens from the headbutt. And then what I found out was that I apparently had an old fracture in my face that didn’t properly heal right.”

Herring surmises that the facial fracture was a result of his 10th round stoppage loss to Denis Shafikov in 2016.

“In the Shafikov fight, I was down in the second round,” Herring recalled. “I was bleeding through my mouth and then I had blood real gushing over my right eye…When he kept headbutting, (the old fracture) kept shifting over to my right eye socket and that was also causing the issue.

“It was basically all because of my eye being all scratched up and an old injury that was basically irritated again.”

The Herring-Oquendo fight had to cancelled twice due to Hering testing positive for Covid-19 both times. Nevertheless, Herring believes he would have fared worse off in the ring had the fight gone off as planned earlier in the summer.

“Looking back on the past weekend, if I would have fought in July I would have had a way much harder time,” Herring said. “He (Oquendo) has a rough and ugly style that’s basically built for testing your will and conditioning…and if I’m being honest with myself, even though I felt like I could have gotten in the ring I don’t think I wouldn’t have had as much success if I fought (in July).”

Herring is expected to face Northern Ireland's Carl Frampton in his next fight, possibly by January.