Saturday, September 30, 2023  |



Jamal James: ‘I’m coming to take over. I will be a world champion’

Jamal James floors Diego Chaves. Photo by Premier Boxing Champions
Fighters Network

Fringe-welterweight contender Jamal James upset world rated Diego Chaves, in Lancaster, California in mid-December.

That victory capped a remarkable week for Minnesota boxing that began with Caleb Truax causing one of 2017’s biggest sensations. On Dec. 9, the unheralded Truax wrenched the IBF super middleweight title from James DeGale via 12-round majority decision and kicked open the door to the big time.

James (22-1, 10 knockouts) credits Truax’s stunning title triumph as the catalyst for his own rousing performance.

“Caleb Truax is a boxing friend of mine,” James told “I’ve always supported him as well as many other local boxers trying to make a name for themselves coming out of Minnesota. When I heard that he had won the title and upset the odds, it was definitely inspirational and motivated me to follow suit.”

Chaves was expected to have his way with James. However, the 29-year-old contender hadn’t read the script and ended the fight with a single left hook to the body. Referee Tom Taylor counted out the habitually durable Argentinian at 2:12 of Round 3.

“I knew going into the Chaves fight that I would be the underdog but because of the vigorous training and preparation that was put in before this bout, I was able to go in feeling confident and ready,” James said. “We had a game plan which played out extremely well.

“Obtaining the victory over Chaves has given me more notoriety in the boxing world and strengthened the support I receive at home as well as abroad.

“Winning in the manner I did has only motivated me more to seek out my ambition to become a world champion. To those who were able to see the match, I feel that it was affirmation to them that I’m ready for that next level.”

James is now back at his day job, earning extra money by managing Carley’s Coffee Shop. The skilled barista can, upon request, shape a foam boxing glove on top of the cup of coffee. “Receiving free coffee doesn’t hurt either,” laughed James.

The 6-foot-2-inch welterweight also assists children at the Circle of Discipline Gym, where he trains. He is also a keen musician who enjoys rapping and songwriting.

James’ nickname, “Shango”, was derived from his music background in homage to his late grandfather’s band Shongoya, which means “God of Thunder”.

“I feel that I was able to make a lot of noise in the boxing world with that win over Chaves,” he said. “This year I’m coming to take over the welterweight division. I will be a world champion.”

Following a career best win, James expects to be mixing with the division’s elite at some point in 2018.


Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright


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