By Jake Donovan, photos by Premier Boxing Champions
Jamel Herring and Denis Shafikov were both on weight for Saturday's headlining edition of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on ESPN, which airs live from Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania.
Both fighters weighed in at 135 pounds for their scheduled 10-round lightweight affair.
Herring (15-0, 8KOs) - a decorated U.S. Marines war veteran and captain of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Boxing team - has been on the hunt for a shot a major title for the past several months. The unbeaten fighting pride of Long Island, New York - though now living in and training out of Cincinnati, Ohio - was preparing for a suggested crack at then-unbeaten 130-pound titlist Javier Fortuna, but the opportunity never materialized.
Instead, he moves to his second cable-TV main event of 2016. His previous ring appearance came this past February, soundly outpointing Luis Florez over 10 rounds in their FS1-televised battle in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
The bout was a solid step-up fight for the rising prospect who now looks to become a full-fledged contender. A win on Saturday will put him in the mix, but will require him surviving what is the textbook definition of a crossroads bout.
Shafikov (36-2-1, 19KOs) hasn't fought since a 12-round points loss to Rances Barthelemy in their vacant lightweight title fight last December. Still, the squat southpaw from Russia represents Herring's most dangerous test to date.
Prior to the aforementioned defeat, the 31-year old Shafikov racked up three consecutive wins. His only two defeats have come at the championship level, having also dropped a decision to then-lightweight titlist Miguel Vazquez in their Feb. '14 clash in Macau, China.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Follow his shiny new Twitter account: @JakeNDaBox_v2