Posted 12:00 AM | Feb 23, 2012
|Weight Class:||Junior Middleweight|
31 Wins | 1 Losses | 27 KOs
|Birthdate:||March 19, 1984|
A devastating knockout artist whose aggressive style has made him one of boxing's most exciting young stars, 27-year old James Kirkland is a fighter many believe is destined to accomplish great things in the sport in the coming years.
Kirkland began boxing as a youngster, hoping to parlay his talent with his fists into a way out of a tough neighborhood for his family. A 134-12 amateur career would follow, but instead of chasing after Olympic dreams, he decided that his talents would be best served in the punch for pay ranks.
So on August 25, 2001, Kirkland, just 17, turned pro in San Antonio with a third round TKO of Maurice Chalmers. By the time less than two years had passed, he was 11-0 with 9 knockouts, and the buzz about him was getting loud. But then he got caught up with the wrong crowd and was arrested. He ended up serving six months in jail and six months on house arrest, and his boxing career ground to a screeching halt.
Once he was released, Kirkland vowed to turn his life around and get back to the business of winning a world championship. He returned to the ring in April of 2006 with a third round stoppage of Manny Castillo, and by the end of the year he had fought and won six times, taking out standouts such as Alexis Divison and Sherwin Davis in the process.
In 2007, Kirkland continued to break out on the national scene with wins over Billy Lyell (TKO8), Ossie Duran (W10), Mohammad Said (KO2), and Allen Conyers (TKO1), but 2008 was ‘Mandingo's biggest year to date, as he scored an HBO-televised first round KO win over Eromosele Albert in May, a second round TKO victory over Ricardo Cortes, and an eighth round finish of Brian Vera.
To keep the momentum going, Kirkland began 2009 with a bang when he took out fellow knockout artist Joel Julio in just six rounds, but out of the ring issues then sidelined the Texan for the rest of 2009 and all of 2010.
On March 5, 2011, Kirkland made his long-awaited return to the ring to face New York's Ashandi Gibbs in an eight round bout. But it only took Kirkland 34 seconds to end the bout and begin his road back to prominence.
Just 13 days later, Kirkland was back in the ring, knocking out Jhon Berrio in two rounds, but on April 9th, his comeback hit a roadblock when he was upset by Japan's Nobuhiro Ishida via first round TKO.
Shaking off the defeat and jumping right back into the gym, and then the ring, Kirkland returned in June 24th with a devastating first round knockout of Dennis Sharpe, and on July 23rd, he built on his latest winning streak with a second round finish of Alexis Hloros in Las Vegas.
But the best was yet to come for Kirkland, as he rose from the canvas in the first round against Alfredo Angulo on November 5th in Mexico to drop his opponent and then finish him in the sixth round in one of the most exciting bouts of 2011.
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