NEW YORK --
Standing 5’10” tall and weighing 135 pounds, Jamel Herring, a native of Coram, N.Y., stands in his corner awaiting the sound of the bell to face his opponent.
“I’ve been boxing since 2001,” said Herring, “I started doing it as a hobby, just something to keep me off the streets and out of trouble.”
Herring, 27, was recruited out of Recruiting Substation Patchogue, Recruiting Station New York, 1st Marine Corps District in October 2003 and served until November 2012. As an electrician, he deployed to Fallujah, Iraq, in 2005 and to Al Taqaddum, Iraq, in 2007.
While in the Marine Corps, Herring was a member of the All-Marine Boxing Team and that’s where he met Sgt. Todd DeKinderen, who is currently a recruiter assigned to RS New York.
“We trained together a lot while we were on the Marine Corps’ boxing team,” said DeKinderen. “Even though we took separate paths in life, we are still like brothers and I am very proud of his accomplishments.”
Herring said there are still many Marines who look up to him and watch his fights.
“I try to do the right thing and still live by those standards that were instilled in me by the Marine Corps,” he said. “It’s a lifestyle, and even though I decided to take a different path I still love every bit of it and I try to represent the Marine Corps in every fight I am in.
“I definitely feel that what I learned in the Marine Corps helps me in the ring. Mental toughness is the first thing you learn in recruit training and I’ve been through worse, there is nothing that you can do to me inside the ring that I haven’t dealt with in the Marine Corps. They built me and made me a stronger person overall.”
By taking what he learned in the Corps and applying it to his training, Herring has overcome many obstacles that were put in front of him during his journey toward becoming the next Marine World Champion.
“One of my major accomplishments was that I was one of the first Marines since 1992 to be on the Olympic boxing team,” he said. “No other service member qualified for the team. People think that just because we’re service members we get to easily transition in, so when I qualified it was a big deal and I am grateful for what I have and the opportunities that I have been given.”
Herring trains six days a week and competes about once a month. He has a professional record of four wins and zero losses with two wins by knockout in the lightweight division.
“I enjoy representing the Marine Corps,” he said, “it has given me so much and it changed who I am as a person. I would say to any Marine, just wear that uniform with pride. A lot of men and women who wore that uniform gave their lives for the flag, we need to honor them by respecting what we have.”