This Saturday at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, Masayuki Ito will defend his WBO Junior Lightweight title against 2012 U.S. Olympic boxing team captain and U.S Marine Corps veteran Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring.
Ito-Herring headlines a special Memorial Day edition of Top Rank on ESPN, which starts with undercards on ESPN+ at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Boxing analyst, ESPN.com feature writer and Pulitzer Prize finalist Mark Kriegel and producer Matt Ruhe spent two days with Herring at the United States Olympic Boxing Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The video feature – an excerpt of which appears at the top of this post – debuts tonight on the 6 p.m. ET SportsCenter and airs Friday at 11 p.m. ET and Saturday at 11:30 a.m. The video profile also will serve as part of the lead-in to the Ito-Herring fight on Saturday.
Kriegel’s written profile of Herring, who served two tours of duty in Iraq, was published today on ESPN.com.
Kriegel also shared his thoughts on Herring with Front Row:
“Memorial Day is a holiday to honor the fallen. But talking to Jamel makes you consider the men and women who survived, many of them with wounds unseen.
“Jamel is an authentically sweet guy, almost always smiling. I see him regularly on the boxing circuit. I know his stablemates – starting with the great Terence Crawford – and his trainers – starting with Brian McIntyre. I thought I knew the beats of his story. But I had no idea he had PTSD [Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder].
“I didn’t know he’d gone through a period of drinking and acting out. I didn’t know, to this day, he sits with his back to the wall, checking the doors to see who’s coming in, and how to get out.
“On July 27, 2012, for the Opening Ceremonies of the London Olympics, Jamel walked out as captain of the U.S. Olympic boxing team. Three years earlier, that same day, his daughter Ariyanah died of SIDS [Sudden Infant Death Syndrome].
“This Saturday is another anniversary – not of death, but life.
“It was Ariyanah’s birthday.
“She would have been 10.
“’This victory, it’s for her,’ said Jamel.”
Matt Ruhe provided the video excerpt above.