Jordan Shimmell steps into the Doghouse: A Cruiserweight Destined to Be Champion - Interview
By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (Aug 18, 2014)
L-R: Dennis Shimmell Jr, Jordan, Clint Calkins-the promoter of the show and a friend and matchmaker for Team Shimmell, Dave Packer - cutman, and Dennis Shimmell Sr.
| With the kind of resume Jordan Shimmell, of Hudsonville, MI, had as an amateur, he looks like a “sure thing” to be fighting for a professional championship within 2 to 3 years. He is 16-0 (13) as a pro. His father, Dennis Shimmell Jr., and advisor Al Haymon, plan to do it the right way and not rush the 25 year-old in before he is ready.
The young Shimmell started at age 9 and through to age 23 was 120-45 as an amateur with 7 record breaking Michigan Golden Gloves state open class titles from 2006 through 2012. He won 3 National Junior Golden Gloves, the National Junior Olympics, the Midwestern Trials, the World Golden Gloves, The National Golden Gloves and 2 USA National Championships. He medaled at many other national and international tournaments including the US Olympic Trials, World Cup of Petroleum Countries in Russia and the Pan Am Games Qualifier in Panama.
From when Jordan turned professional in June of 2012 until January of 2013, he worked his way into the pro game and got used to fighting without head gear by boxing 8 straight opponents without winning records. Jordan easily defeated all 8 of those opponents in just 6 ½ months. Sometimes you can’t always tell by records because the ones with losing records usually fight better opposition than the ones with winning records. All but 1 of those opponents failed to make it through 2 rounds.
Having fought internationally in the amateurs the young Shimmell has proven he can win “away from home”. “Jordan has no problem fighting in other parts of the country so I find it amusing when some boxing critics say he has only fought in the Midwest. Well, Jordan lives in the Midwest so it kind of makes sense. Jordan has fought in various places though including Michigan (in several cities: Holland, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Detroit), Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa and now Washington (his 16th fight),” said Dennis Shimmell, Jr. In Jordan’s first 8 fights, 4 of them were out of state.
After his 7th fight Jordan was jumped from 6 to 10 rounds with only 1 bout in his first 7 going past 2 rounds. Why not get paid for 10 rounds when your fights don’t usually go past 2 rounds?
“I train Jordan at the Michigan Golden Gloves Association (MGGA) boxing gym in Grand Rapids, MI. In his pro career what stands out is Jordan’s excellent defense. He doesn’t take a lot of punishment in his fights. He has fought some tough journeymen who have not been able to inflict any damage on Jordan,” said Dennis.
In the amateurs Jordan fought in about 20 different states and in different parts of the world such as Europe, Asia, and Central America. “I’m not sure if there is a more harsh environment than Siberia in December for a boxing tournament. Jordan also fought his first overseas international bout in Italy against the World Championship gold medalist, Olympic silver medalist and Italian hero Clemente Russo. I know Jordan can handle stress and he has fought through being cut one time in the amateurs and once as a pro, both from fouls – an elbow and a head butt,” said Dennis.
Starting in March of 2013 through August of 2014 Jordan defeated 8 opponents all with winning records.
A 10 round decision (over Galen Brown, 41-22-1) and in his last fight a disqualification (over Epifanio Mendoza, 37-17-1) win were the only 2 of the 8 that were not stopped by Jordan (knockout wins by Jordan). “Jordan is one of the best fighters I have ever fought. I had time to train for him so I was in top shape, one of the few times I have had a notice to fight. He was just a little better than me at everything I did. His jab was there a little faster, just one up on me on everything I did. I look to see him at the top for a while. He has a lot of potential. I hit him flush and he walked through it. Most people don’t do that again. I know boxing and have been a pro for 13 years (74 fights) and he will be at the top for a while and has it all together,” said Galen Brown.
Clint Calkins of Calkins Sports Productions Coralville, IA, is a promoter/matchmaker and part of Team Shimmell helping with matchmaking for about 10 of Jordan’s fights. Jordan is not signed with a particular promoter and with Al Haymon as his advisor he will likely continue to box for various promoters. Calkins and Zach Walters have promoted a couple of his fights along with Jordan’s grandfather Dennis Shimmell, Sr. of Two Fists Promotions. Dave Packer is their cutman.
In April of this year Jordan faced Damon “Bulldog” McCreary, 15-1 (11), from Detroit at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. McCreary’s only loss was in September of 2012 to Deontay Wilder, then 24-0 (24), in 0:55 of the 2nd round in a scheduled for 6 bout (after 6 bouts at 10 rounds). Jordan stopped McCreary at 0:01 of the 2nd round. Shimmell and Wilder have two common opponents, Matthew Greer (Shimmell’s 11th & Wilder’s 27th fight) and Damon Reed (Shimmell’s 13th & Wilder’s 17th fight) and Shimmell stopped both in the 3rd round while Wilder stopped both in the 2nd round. The unbeaten Wilder now has 31 straight stoppages and is the WBC No. 1 contender among heavyweights and Jordan is a cruiserweight contender.
Jordan defeated Damon Reed, 47-17 who had been in with some heavy hitters like Hasim Rahman, Deontay Wilder, James Toney, Brian Nielson, Herbie Hide and Kali Meehan. “Jordan is a good fighter. I was impressed, he was faster and hit harder and was among the top fighters I faced. I think he’ll be a cruiserweight champion someday,” said Damon Reed.
Jordan’s last 5 opponents including McCreary (15-1) have registered 37, 41, 47 and 47 wins. Half of his opponents (8) have been heavyweights. In those fights Jordan gave away 26, 44 (2), 50, 57, 61, 66 and 78 pounds. His lowest weight was 196.5 and highest 214.5 pounds.
In 2008 at the National Golden Gloves Jordan defeated Craig Baker, of Houston, TX, in the second round. Baker a pro cruiserweight since 2008 is 14-0 (10) but has yet to fight anyone with a winning record as a comparison.
Jordan Shimmell is the current USBO cruiserweight champion and is world ranked by the IBO #21 and by the WBC #36. He is ranked in the North American/U.S. Regional rankings of all 5 major sanctioning bodies. (WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO & IBO): USBO champ, NABO #3, NABA #4, USBA #6, and NABF #12. Jordan Shimmell has quickly moved up the rankings and amassed a 16-0 pro record since turning pro on June 30, 2012.
Jordan’s younger brother Niall boxed prior to joining the Air Force. Jordan was on the Dean’s list at Grand Rapids Community College. He played football in high school and was part of a rock band. He also performed in a school play. He has a love of off-roading with dirt bikes, go-karts, golf carts, lifted 4x4s, quads, etc. He goes to sand dunes and trails.
Jordan’s next bout is scheduled for September 11th in Las Vegas, NV, at the Hard Rock Casino promoted by Golden Boy Promotions. An opponent hasn’t been selected as of yet.
KEN HISSNER: You had 165 amateur fights from age 9 to 23. Who would you say was the best boxer you fought and or the toughest fight you had?
JORDAN SHIMMELL: Clemente Russo had the most international experience and had won the World Championships and a silver medal in the Olympics. It was my first bout outside the United States which made it a bigger fight. I don’t know if he was the best boxer or my toughest fight but he was the biggest name.
KEN HISSNER: When you lost in the Olympic trials was your mind made up to turn professional?
JORDAN SHIMMELL: I found out that there was going to be another “reload” tournament in the spring of 2012 so I decided to compete in that and then go for the National Golden Gloves one last time especially since it was being held in Mesquite, NV near where I won my first national title in Las Vegas in 2001. I thought it would be great to win my last national tournament in the same state as where I won my first. I thought I accomplished my goal too as I won 4 straight bouts and made it to the finals. In the finals I did well against an opponent who held a lot in the 2nd and 3rd rounds and I thought the decision was mine. However, I lost a 3-2 split decision which was a very disappointing way to end my amateur career.
KEN HISSNER: I recently did an article about a boxer with a father for a trainer which usually has about a 50-50 chance of being a success. How do you feel your father helps you by being your trainer?
JORDAN SHIMMELL: Because we understand each other and know each other and I have worked with him since I started boxing.
KEN HISSNER: A month after having your last amateur bout you turned professional at an even 200. In your last fight 25 months later you were 198 ¾? What do you credit in maintaining your weight?
JORDAN SHIMMELL: Since I had been boxing in the 201 pound weight class in the amateurs for 7 years and often had to weigh-in 5 or 6 days in a row, I was very accustomed to making that weight. As a pro with weighing in the day before the fight, it makes making 200 pounds easier. I workout throughout the year and don’t take more than a couple days off in a row from training and/or running. Even when I go on vacation, I am an active person and will be biking, walking, jogging, swimming or doing some other physical activity.
KEN HISSNER: You had 8 fights in 8 months after turning professional. 7 of those wins were by stoppage with the decision going 6 rounds. Granted none of the 7 lasted 3 rounds but how did that pace of fighting every month effect you mentally?
JORDAN SHIMMELL: Not at all. I was used to boxing over 20 times a year as an amateur so I liked staying active. In fact it makes being a pro easier in my opinion if you can stay busy. One of the things you miss as a pro is traveling to shows and tournaments with teammates and the camaraderie that you really don’t get in the pros.
KEN HISSNER: After your first full year of boxing, you only had 5 bouts in your second year. Only 1 went the distance. Do you think with just the 5 fights you stayed sharp enough?
JORDAN SHIMMELL: The hard work is done in the gym. I spar a lot so that keeps me focused. During that second year I went to Austria for several weeks as a sparring partner for Wladimir Klitschko. What made it even more difficult is that I had to spar the heavyweight champ of the world from the southpaw stance even though I am an orthodox boxer. After that I sparred the light heavyweight champ Adonis Stevenson for several weeks again from the southpaw stance. A month or so after that camp, I went to Chicago to spar with the IBO light heavyweight champ Andrzej Fonfara for 3 or 4 weeks once again being required to spar from the southpaw stance. In addition to sparring two of the best light heavyweights and the best heavyweight in the world I would spar elite amateur boxers and other pro boxers. During that second year I had several fights get cancelled so I was preparing for more than just 5 fights.
KEN HISSNER: This year you have fought 4 times in 8 months and may have 2 more fights by the end of the year. Are you satisfied with your progress so far?
JORDAN SHIMMELL: Yes I am happy with how things are going. I am the USBO champion. I am ranked in all the U.S. and North American rankings and am ranked in the top 40 in the world in several rankings. I look forward to boxing on television in the near future and winning a world title within 2 years.
KEN HISSNER: You father is not only your trainer but is an attorney. Does he more or less make the decisions such as bringing in Al Haymon as an advisor and not yet signing you to a promoter or do you also have some input?
JORDAN SHIMMELL: My father is my manager and trainer but he discusses the options I have with me. We talk about my career and future opponents. Sometimes I tell him to decide and I will just get in the ring and box. He studies film and reads about my opponents and gives me information about their strengths and weaknesses and develops several different game plans that I can use against them.
KEN HISSNER: Your last fight was in the state of Washington which was your first fight not in the Midwest. What kind of an effect did this have on you not being close to home which is Michigan?
JORDAN SHIMMELL: I fought in Iowa twice and Minnesota twice and both are hundreds of miles from home. The only difference being in a place over 2,000 miles from home was there was a 3 hour time difference instead of just 1 hour.
KEN HISSNER: Are there any boxers from the amateurs you may have lost to that you would like to meet as professionals?
JORDAN SHIMMELL: My goal is to become world champion. If it makes sense and moves me towards that goal, then definitely. I would box any of them.
KEN HISSNER: Speaking of the amateurs are you surprised Craig Lewis who you fought 3 times hasn’t turned professional though in 2008 he announced he was?
JORDAN SHIMMELL: Not really since a lot of amateur boxers never turn pro.
KEN HISSNER: As we all know being a good amateur doesn’t always mean one will be a good professional. A lot of times it depends on a boxer’s style. Do you feel your style now is more suited being a pro?
JORDAN SHIMMELL: Yes. I am comfortable boxing more rounds than you do in the amateurs. I also like to throw body punches which I didn’t get credit for in the amateurs.
KEN HISSNER: In talking with one of the amateur officials who met you, your dad and grandfather back in 2007 remarked how well- mannered and friendly the 3 of you were and almost made him feel like family. Do you feel your upbringing has a lot to do with your dedication to be the very best you can be as a boxer too?
JORDAN SHIMMELL: Yes, I was taught to work hard, respect people and be a good sport.
KEN HISSNER: Is there one particular boxer out there that you admire the most?
JORDAN SHIMMELL: I admire many boxers including these three: Bernard Hopkins – he’s almost 50 and a world champ. Wladimir Klitschko – he’s a dominant world champ who has a doctorate and speaks several languages. Floyd Mayweather Jr – he has been a champ in 5 different weight classes and is still undefeated at 46-0.
KEN HISSNER: At 6’3”, which was the same height as Muhammad Ali, do you feel you will stay in the cruiserweight division or eventually move up possibly depending on your success as a cruiserweight?
JORDAN SHIMMELL: I can comfortably make the cruiserweight limit so for the time being I plan on staying there. I want to win the cruiserweight world title before thinking about moving up to heavyweight.
KEN HISSNER: I want to thank you and your father for all the help you have given me for doing this interview and the background work you have accomplished.
JORDAN SHIMMELL: Thank you for your time and hopefully the boxing fans enjoy the article.
Please send all questions and comments to Ken Hissner at: Kenhissner@gmail.com
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