Staying strong and consistent through eight rounds, V.I. champion fighter Julius “The Chef” Jackson capped off his Showtime Extreme boxing debut with a knockout early in the ninth over opponent Jonathan Nelson.
Jackson – 18-0, 14 KOs – came into Saturday’s fight with a few aces in his pocket, including having spent at least the past month in intense training with top-ranked middleweight fighter Gennady Golovkin, which 340 Boxing officials have said has made him more steady and confident in the ring.
Eager to keep moving up in the rankings, it doesn’t hurt that Jackson also came into the Showtime ring on an eight-win streak, all by knock out, sporting a newly-inked contract with renowned boxing adviser Al Haymon.
Jackson’s confidence showed early Saturday as he dropped Nelson – 19-1, 9 KOs – early in the first round, using a combination of punches that put him on his knee.
Nelson also found himself against the ropes in the fifth round and was visibly hurt in the eighth, after Jackson dropped him again with a straight right.
Nelson gained some ground briefly in the sixth, after sticking a hard right and moving forward with some counterpunches, but boxing commentators said Saturday that the seemed to have nothing left in the tank after that.
The final stoppage came at 2:33 in the ninth round, after a combo from Jackson sent Nelson backward.
“He really has unpredictable power,” said 340 Boxing trainer and three-time world boxing great Julian “The Hawk” Jackson about his son after the fight Sunday. “You never know when he’s going to turn it on. Sometimes, he’s nonchalant – and you could see it maybe a few times during this fight – but when he hits his power button, then you know. He’s learning, he’s still learning, but it’s definitely getting there and I think it’s something that’s going to be incredible in time.”
The 340 Boxing camp said Saturday’s fight wasn’t one of Jackson’s best. Even Jackson, speaking after the bout, gave himself a B-.
“Overall, I’m happy with my performance, but I made some small mistakes,” he said. “My skill level was just higher than his, my jab was on point and my movement was better. My opponent, he had good defense on the inside, though, so my strategy was to hit him and stay in control and that is what got us through.”
340 Boxing Managing Partner Tony Rosario added Sunday that Jackson’s ability to dominate the majority of the rounds helped showcase his fighting style to the world.
“It was a great fight,” Rosario said. “Not Julius’ best, but even at a B, he was still too much. He was superb, he looked good and he stayed in the game, and that’s how he always is. We expected the knockout, we did, but with Julius, it could have come earlier. If he had put the pressure on, it could have come after he dropped him in the first round.”
Rosario said there are talks about getting Showtime down to the territory, but 340 Boxing Managing Partner Lesley Comissiong said the next step for Jackson – and all in the territory’s professional boxing camp – is a national championship.
“We’re happy and excited about the win,” she said Sunday. “And this is really the next big step that will take us toward our goal of making these guys champions. Julius, he was steady, he was exhibiting the confidence he needed out there and being able to have that mental state is huge. We’ve just got to keep going forward.”