In what was an exciting week of boxing that featured multiple high actions and competitive fights from world champs, long-reigning contenders, and unbeaten prospects. Several fighters had a legitimate claim to this week’s Award. However one mans performance stood out above all others Jamel “Shango” James of Minneapolis, Minnesota gave a career-best performance in outpointing the game and rugged Thomas Dulorme of 12 hard-fought, fast-paced rounds to move his record to 27-1 (12), extend his current winning streak to seven, picked up the vacant WBA interim 147-pound strap as well as our Fighter of the Week award. He also has likely put himself in position to get either a world title fight or the biggest money fight of his career against any of the big names in the welterweight division who are currently fighting under the PBC banner.
Both Jamal James and Thomas Dulorme walked into the ring knowing exactly what was on the line. A win would catapult the winner into world title contention while the loser would be out of any title discussion for the foreseeable future. With each fighter in their 30’s, neither man could afford a loss at this stage in their career. They both fought with an intense sense of urgency in the early rounds. Dulorme constantly attacked and tried to get inside on the taller James, having some success getting to the body. James tried to keep the shorter Dulorme at the end of his long jab and had spots of success with that through the early rounds. As the fight progressed the all-out assault from Dulorme began to fade and the Minnesotan started to get into a rhythm. Landing with his right hand, dominating the middle rounds from long range. As Dulorme fatigued, Shango got going and his sharp combinations started to take their toll and hurt Dulorme and put the fight out of reach on the cards. In the final two rounds, a desperate Dulorme knew he needed a knockout and went for broke. The two exchanged heavy artillery over the final six fairly even minutes of the scarp. It was a game effort from Dulorme but it clearly fell short as James captured the vacant interim WBA belt by scores of 115-113, 117-111, and 116-112.
Jamal James was in desperate need of a career-defining victory, one that would move him into the top tier of welterweights and secure him a big money fight. Saturday night in Los Angels was exactly that. James may finally be in line for a world title shot or at least a big money non-title fight that can propel him to a title fight should he win. He called out the legendary Manny Pacquiao following his victory and will certainly be on the shortlist for not only that fight but the winner of Spence- Garcia as well which takes place in November. However, in the interim, James could realistically secure fights with Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, or a rematch with Yordenis Ugas, who beat Shango back in 2016. James was on a verge of a world title fight prior to the Ugas setback, he has run off seven straight victories since that lone defeat, and finally at the age of 32 may have gotten himself back into position to finally fight for a world title.