(CBS)- WBA Welterweight Champion Jamal “Shango” James takes on undefeated contender Radzhab Butaev this Saturday, October 30th on SHOWTIME. Saturday’s main card kicks off at 10pm ET and will also host a co-feature bout between welterweight phenom Jaron Ennis and Thomas Dulorme plus the undefeated Michel Rivera squaring off with Matías Romero in the opener. Click here to pre-order James vs Butaev now on SHOWTIME.com.
CBS’ Katie Johnston sat down with the boxer to talk about the upcoming fight, his training, and his community program “Pursuit of Discipline.”
KJ- WBA Welterweight Champion, Jamal “Shango” James takes on undefeated contender Radzhab Butaev Saturday and here with me to talk about the upcoming fight his training and everything in between Jamal James himself. First of all, great to see you and should I call you Shango, or should I call you, Jamal?
JJ- Oh, whatever you’re comfortable with either or is fine with me. Thank you for having me. Appreciate it.
KJ- Well, I do want to ask you what is the story behind that name? Shango.
JJ- Yeah I got “Shango,” actually adopted that after my grandfather. My grandfather was from Trinidad and Tobago, then he moved to Minnesota and started a music group called Shang Goya, which was kind of like a Calypso reggae style group. Some years back he passed away but to kind of keep that connection with that side of my family and stuff I took the name Shango. Shango comes from African beliefs and spiritual stuff and it’s like the African Thor, pretty much. Got a fire, lightning, thunder, dance and all that. That’s everything I bring to the ring so I thought it was perfect. A perfect fit.
KJ- It’s certainly very meaningful to bring a piece of your family with you every single time that you step in the ring and in the midst of training you’re also working with your dad, you’re working with your brother each and every week. So tell me what it’s like to have that family dynamic training day in and day out?
JJ- Yeah, I mean in this career it’s perfect. You know what I mean? Because you want to have somebody you could trust in your corner when you’re competing and when you’re training and stuff. So you know, those guys know me the best, they push me, and know how hard to push me when–you know, when I might need to rest or something like that. I’ve trained with them my whole life, I’ve obviously been coached and training with them my whole life and it’s took me this far. So I’ll continue to do it.
KJ- How did your dad get you–Or I guess was it your dad that got you involved at an early age?
JJ- My mom, my mother did actually. She’s the one who kind of brought down to the organization and then the circle, which is the organization that I train out of. They kind of adopted me in there as a second family. I’ve been with them ever since and then, you know, we’ve gotten to be more of a family engagement down there. Now I’m here with it.
KJ- Obviously a very successful career already and in the midst of all this training, you’re also involved in a program you founded called “Pursuit of Discipline,” where you speak each week to kids and young adults. Tell me a little bit more about that.
JJ-Yeah, yeah, it’s a leadership group. That’s part of the Circle of Discipline and it’s basically an information mentoring style type of group and I run it with my brother, Rhobelle Teckle, and a volunteer and good friend, Kellen Jacobson. We work with young men and women and we talk about things that you don’t get taught in school or at home, like, for some of the older young men and women, financial literacy and discipline, work ethic, and how to go about resume building and stuff like that.
For some of the younger ones, from eight to 13, we talked about the importance of being responsible, how to be humble, how to deal with peer pressure, why it’s important to stay focused in school; not kind of run with the crowd. We also have a lot of guest speakers and take them on field trips and stuff like that. So they can get some face-to-face time with people who have run their own businesses are very successful in whatever career–they’re like doctors, lawyers, whatever, like that.
KJ- What inspired you to start that program back in 2017?
JJ- Well, it’s kind of something that’s always been down at the circle, but it was never like a program, you know? So at the Circle, we had many other programs and amateur boxing was one of our biggest programs. It was a way that we can kind of reach young men and women and help them build confidence as well as instill discipline in them so they can be successful in life and kind of not get caught up in some of the traps of the street, you know.
A lot of times after an exercise or workout we would all just kind of sit around and just kind of talk. A lot of older guys would just kind of drop knowledge and I took that with me my whole life and I’m sure a lot of other young guys and girls did as well. As our organization grew, and we started getting out, you know, more and more kids down there, and adults–once we taught a class we kind of had to push them out, get ready for the next class. So we were kind of missing that hang around time where we were able to have those type of discussions.
I thought it’d be perfect if we just created an actual group, where we can specifically just talk about different topics each week and have those discussions. It falls under the Circle, but it’s its own program as well. So, you know, young men and women who aren’t wanting to come down there to work out, but just kind of want to come down there to talk to that group can feel welcomed and just do that.
KJ- Sounds like something that you’re really passionate about?
JJ- Yeah, I mean, I’m passionate about the whole organization. You know that group is something that I like because I kind of started it up with my brother but the whole organization does great work. I mean with not only just young men and women but adults as well and helps them kind of get their life on the right track.
KJ- Finally, I hear wedding bells in the distance. Your wedding is scheduled shortly after your fight November 27. Are all 10–or for people who don’t know–you have 10 Brothers. Are they going to be standing at your side that day?
JJ- Yeah, pretty much, pretty much you know what I mean? We’re really just going to do a quick ceremony that we just got to have a big party. I’ve been with my lady Marley Dorsey for a long, long time. It’s about time to tie the knot and start the next journey of our lives together.
KJ- Well, I am so excited for you and excited to see your match this weekend. And I want to thank you so much for hanging out with me today. I really appreciate it.
JJ- Well, thank you for having me. Appreciate it.
James vs Butaev is available to pre-order now on SHOWTIME.com. Main card starts Saturday, October 30th at 10pm ET.