Jamal James will be home in Minneapolis on Saturday, Feb. 25, when he returns to the ring after a loss to Radzhab Butaev and a long layoff, facing Alberto Palmetta in a Showtime-televised fight from The Armory.
James hasn’t fought since his Oct. 2021 loss to Radzhab Butaev, a closely-contested, hard-fought battle that saw the referee stop the bout in the ninth round. Prior to that, he’d won seven straight after his first career defeat, which came in 2016 to Yordenis Ugas.
Now 27-2 (12 KO), James is still campaigning as a welterweight, which itself shows a great dedication given that he’s 6’2” and now 34 years old, and has been making that weight since turning pro in 2010.
Opponent Palmetta (18-1, 13 KO0 is a 32-year-old Argentine southpaw whose only loss came in his seventh pro fight in 2017, to Gonzalo Coria. The 2016 Olympian is taking a real step up here himself, and James says from a workout this week that he’ll show he’s coming back strong.
“It’s go time. I’ve been itching for this and I’m extremely happy to be fighting back at home. The most important thing for me is just ending this layoff and being in the ring period.
“I know that a lot of eyes will be on me coming off my last fight, but I love the pressure and I deal with it great. It makes me a better fighter. Instead of talking too much about it, I’m just going to show you.
“The gym is my home and we’ve been home. We’re training in the mornings and training in the evenings. Outside of just doing it for my boxing career, it keeps my body clean, my mind healthy and my spirit up.
“We’ve got an amazing facility here, so there’s no excuses for me not being at the very best of my capabilities when I step into the ring.
“My team keeps me focused during setbacks. We know that we just have to stay focused and eventually the opportunities are gonna come. If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.”
SANKARA FRAZIER, James’ Trainer
“Sometimes it’s not a bad thing to let your body rest. We’ve been at this since Jamal was a kid. This was an opportunity to focus and practice on the smaller things that we’ve wanted to fix. We really believe that it’s the smaller things that truly count.
“There’s always a fire burning in Jamal. He’s one of the guys who keeps that fire going at all times. We have to push it down a little bit sometimes and tell him to take it easy.
“We always look for the best version of Jamal James whenever he steps into the ring. So I’m just looking for the Jamal to be better than the last.”