Herring set for July title defense in Las Vegas

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WBO junior lightweight world champion Jamel Herring will defend his title in early July in Las Vegas, he told ESPN on Friday.

No opponent has been finalized to face Herring in what will be his second title defense, which Herring told ESPN is set to take place July 2.

Carl Moretti, director of boxing operations for Top Rank, told ESPN that Herring’s bout would take place at an MGM Resorts property to be determined in early July but did not provide other details on Herring’s fight or the overall card.

“It’s fluid,” Moretti said. “We’re on calls every day with stuff. So what we thought was happening on Tuesday is not, and what we thought was happening on Wednesday is now happening. So it just changes and changes.”

The 34-year-old Herring (21-2, 10 KOs) arrived in Omaha, Nebraska, earlier this week to work with trainer Brian McIntyre and his camp. Herring, who is working alongside the likes of former WBO 140-pound titlist Maurice Hooker and super middleweight Steve Nelson, said he doesn’t have to play the catch-up game.

“It’s funny, I actually felt good for my first sparring session,” Herring said. “So that tells you that even though I haven’t been in a gym setting, the workouts I had been doing at home during my free time, they’ve been paying off. So when I got back into the swing of things, it wasn’t a hard adjustment. It’s only one week, and this gives me almost a full eight weeks ’til the fight arrives.”

Herring, a 2012 Olympian, captured his title last May by decisively outpointing Masayuki Ito over 12 rounds and made a successful first defense with a unanimous decision over Lamont Roach in November.

There were talks of Herring going to Ireland to face Carl Frampton, but those plans were put off due to the coronavirus pandemic. But that matchup is still squarely on his mind.

“That’s still the No. 1 priority, for sure,” said Herring. “I’m still actually shocked from the latest story that I’ve seen, where he’s not willing to fight unless he’s fighting me. If it comes around the December time frame, he will have been out for like an entire year.

“But for me, I just want to stay as busy as much as possible. I’m not getting young as it is. So why risk coming into big fights with the ring rust on you still.”