By Jesse Kelley

24 year old Jamal "Shango" James (6-0, 4 KO's) of Minneapolis will be featured tomorrow night on the pro fight card taking place at the Crown Plaza in Saint Paul. James hasn't fought in the Twin Cities area since 2010 but boxing fans can expect to see more of the flashy and speedy combinations from the 6'2 welterweight and then some. After winning a close decision over Hector Orozco in 2011, James produced his best showing in his last bout, which was a rematch with Orozco this past June in Carleton, MN. In that bout, James used speed, movement, and what looked like added power to keep Orozco on the end of his punches. Minnesotaboxing.com caught up with James before he got down to business at the Circle of Discipline to discuss the Orozco fights and the upcoming show. Also, with a rumored fight with Corey Rodriguez at a catch weight and a welterweight showdown with RJ Laase floating around, James also talked about wanting to take on all local challengers at 147 lbs.


You didn't have a fight for a year prior to the rematch against Orozco. But I know you were staying busy in that time. Can you Talk about some of the stuff you were up to leading up to that fight
I'm always training so in the time off I was still always working. I got to work with Sugar Shane Mosely in California. I also worked with Lamont Peterson. When I was in Puerto Rico for training camp I worked with Rocky Martinez. We tried to get a fight out there but just weren't able to line anything up. I was really itching to get back in the ring. The first fight with Orozco I kind of underestimated the fight and took him for granted. But I knew what to expect in the second fight. I knew he would be in shape. I was training like a dog and came in there in top shape. I went in there, stuck to the game plan my coaches came up with and got the victory.

Let's talk about that fight. What was the difference in your performance between the first and second fight with him?
He was aggressive in both fights but I was able to box more and use my range more in the rematch. Realistically, I went into the first fight thinking I could knock him out. I saw him at the weigh ins and he had a soft body, and he was shorter. And I had been knocking guys out before. I was catching him with with some hard shots but he just kept coming. He showed he could take that type of punishment and come right back. So I knew for the rematch, he was going to come at me the same way. Probably be even more aggressive. So our plan was to keep that range going. I let him break my range a little in the first fight and push me around a little. So any time he got close in the rematch, I spun off or did what I had to do to get him off. Of course I then began to catch him with some pretty big shots.

What I really noticed landing all throughout the fight was the uppercut. Was that one of the specific things you worked on for this fight?
Yeah I did work on it more. In the first fight I was catching him with right hands and ended up hurting that hand in the third round. And I noticed he kept his head down when he came in. The forehead is the hardest point on the head so that's how I hurt my hand in that fight. But when a guy comes in with his head down, it opens things up for that uppercut. And since he is shorter, it's a lot easier for him to run into like that. So it was a part of our plan for the rematch. And also to land that left hook after spinning him off like I did. So I feel like I put everything we worked on into the fight and it worked.

I have been told different things as far as who you will be fighting on the 25th. An undefeated fighter from Ohio, and even Ronnie Peterson Jr's name came up. Any word on who your opponent will be?
I don't know too much about the opponent. I do know that I am a fighter. They have me on August 25th but I don't know who it will be against. ( Since our interview, Charon Spain was found in the week leading up to fight week as Jamal's opponent.)

Another rumor going around is that a showdown is brewing between you and RJ Laase from Duluth at 147 pounds. Is that fight in your future?
Yeah, I put it out on one of those forum's, I am down to fight RJ Laase. I am ready to compete against anybody in the state. I'm not ducking or dodging nobody. If that's what the fans want to see I am definitely down for it.

Anything you want to add for the fans watching on the 25th?
Yeah, if they haven't got their tickets yet they can get them right here at Circle of Discipline, 1201 East Lake Street (Mnpls.) I'll be fighting with my man main Robert Brant and Jonathan Perez. It's going to be an excellent night and I guarantee a great performance and I know my partners will as well. I'd like to give a shout out to my sponsors if I may, Circle of Discipline you know where I am from. Gym Jab which opens up in Minnetonka. It's a new high tech training facility...

I heard you are a trainer there?
I am yes. So if anybody wants some boxing lessons stop on down. Jonathan will also be training there and there are some MMA guys as well. www.GymJab.com if you want to check it out. Also my newest sponsor Jose Payan. He runs La Perla Tortilla Company. He comes down to the gym and actually works with the kids. And also Michael Gale. He's got a great facility right across the bridge in Saint Paul.