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WBO junior lightweight world champion Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring and undefeated former featherweight world champion Shakur Stevenson have trained together and share many of the same friends. Sometimes friends make the best enemies.

Herring will defend his world title against Stevenson on Saturday, October 23 at the award-winning State Farm Arena in Atlanta. One of the year’s most anticipated fight cards will also include the return of middleweight prospect Nico Ali Walsh, grandson of “The Greatest,” who turned pro in August with a first-round knockout.

At Thursday’s kickoff press conference, this is what the fighters had to say:

Jamel Herring

“I look at every fight different. This fight is no easier than any fight I’ve had in the past. I always gave Shakur his respect. I know what I’m going up against, but that’s what motivates me to go in the gym and do what I have to do. I don’t take anyone lightly. It’s familiar territory and another day in the life of Jamel Herring. That’s just how it is.”

“They’re making Shakur out to be the future superstar, but again, maybe he will be a future star in his own right, but right now, we’re focusing on the now. I still feel like I have things to prove to myself, and I’m just going to go out and do what I have to do.”

“Lately, Atlanta has been growing as another city for boxing. It’s great to just not be in a ‘bubble.’ It’s great to actually have fans in attendance for a change. The fans do play a huge part, especially in these big fights. Sometimes you need that crowd to push you and get you riled up. I believe Atlanta will have that great atmosphere that both of us will feed upon on Oct. 23.”

“We both have something to prove in our own rights. He’s young, and he wants to be a two-division champion, which I respect. I feel like I’ve always been counted out. I’m still just fighting for my respect. That’s what keeps me motivated and hungry. I think this fight will bring out the best in both of us.”

Shakur Stevenson

“It’s an amazing opportunity to be back here fighting for another world title. My last world title, I fought in October (2019 against Joet Gonzalez). This world title, I fight in October. It’s going to be no different. I’m coming here to dominate. Jamel is a solid fighter. He has a great team around him, but it’s going to be my night. That’s how I feel.”

“{Jamel} is a just a friend of my family. He’s not my friend. He’s not nobody I talk to outside of boxing. We don’t got no relationship outside of boxing. He’s somebody I see around. He messes with the same people I mess with. Other than that, we’re not friends. I’ve never really been his friend. He’s cool people. I don’t got no problem with him at all. It ain’t like I check up on him when I’m not fighting or he checks up on me. I don’t consider that a friend.

“At the end of the day, I’m coming in there to handle business, and I’m going to make sure I win.”

Nico Ali Walsh

“First of all, it’s an honor to be sitting here with Shakur Stevenson and Jamel Herring. It’s an honor to be a part of this card, and I think it’s very important for me to be in Atlanta because of the history, obviously, with my grandfather. And my aunt {Laila Ali} fought here as well. It’s just a really exciting time in my life, and I’m really excited for this journey.”

“Everyone I talked to, whether it be Mike Tyson or Tyson Fury or any other professional fighter that I look up to, has said that the first fight is always the hardest because you don’t know what to expect. I’m blessed now that I’ve gotten the first fight over with, and now I’m just looking forward to having fun and enjoying the rest of my boxing career.”

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