The World Boxing Association now has three categories of world champions: super, world and interim. What that seems to mean is anyone winning an interim gets a belt declaring him to be a world champion, and the other beltholders can’t duck him for future bouts.
Thus, there will be two WBA interim titles on the line on April 11 at the Minneapolis Armory, when Jamal “Shango’’ James (26-1, 12 KOs) meets Thomas Dulorme (25-3-1, 16 KOs) for a welterweight belt, and David Morrell Jr. (2-0, 2 KOs) takes on Lenox Allen (22-0-1, 12 KOs) for a super middleweight title.
The bouts will be the headline events for a Premier Boxing Champions card on Fox.
“This is a big deal in the boxing world,’’ said Luis de Cubas, the head of Warrior Boxing and the manager for Morrell. “People have been waiting for Jamal to get a shot like this, and the whole boxing world is excited about David.’'
James had been looking for a chance to fight for a belt since April 13, 2018, when he helped bring boxing back to the restored Armory with a majority decision over veteran Abel Ramos.
Three more Armory victories followed: second-round knockout of Mahonri Montes (8-24-18); over Janer Gonzalez (2-13-19) when Gonzalez didn’t answer the bell for the seventh round; and a unanimous decision over rugged former champion Antonio DeMarco (7-13-19).
Now, James gets his biggest fight against Dulorme, a Puerto Rican and former world title challenger. Dulorme had a win over previously unbeaten Terrel Williams and a draw with former world champion Jessie Vargas in his last two bouts.
Dulorme had a previous title bout against the great Terrance Crawford in April 2015, and was stopped in the sixth round.
James’ first bout at the Armory vs. Ramos was less than impressive – a bit nervous, breaking in the restrored hometown venue, he admitted – but his last three performances were very good.
James offered this quote in the news release announcing the April fight: “I’m super hungry. I’ve been looking for my belt. It’s time for that belt. Shango needs to shine.’’
Morrell, 22, had more than 100 fights as a much-honored amateur in his native Cuba. He defected to Mexico and then signed with Warrior Boxing in the summer of 2019, after being given permission to fly to Miami.
He moved to Minneapolis last August and is living and training here. De Cubas’ promotional plan is to make him a local favorite, as the Armory continues to host and promote cards in conjunction with Premier Boxing Champions.
“The boxing fans around here are going to embrace this kid,’’ de Cubas said. “Look at it: David had one quick fight here in his pro debut last August, then his second fight was in the Washington, D.C. area in November.
“And he was so impressive that the WBA moved him from No. 15 to No. 3 in its rankings, and gave him this title shot. After two pro fights.’’