UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (BVM) — Lamont Roach Jr. was practically raised within the four corners of a boxing ring. At just 9 years old, Roach went with his dad and his cousin Jermaine to the No “X” Cuse Boxing Club where he would put on the gloves and punch the bag for the first time. Although he was new to the sport, Roach became enamored with boxing.
“It’s been a wrap since then,” Roach said. “I realized I was better than most at a young age at probably about 12 or 13 years old winning national championships, that put me on a platform to be ranked among the best at my age and weight.”
Over the course of his youth, the Washington D.C. native would establish himself both locally and nationally in the ring. During his time as an amateur boxer, Roach would compile a record of 125-15 on his way to winning two Junior National Golden Gloves Championships, five Ringside World Championships and a 2011 National PAL Championship. In 2013, 17-year-old Roach was named the USA Boxing Youth National Champion and the National Golden Gloves champion at 132 pounds. Thanks to his performances, Roach would also earn the USA Boxing Outstanding Boxer award.
“I was actually shocked,” Roach said of winning the award. “We weren’t even there. The day after the championship we left and they announced the awards and someone called my dad and said I won outstanding fighter. I was like, ‘Woah that’s crazy!’ … I think I really earned that outstanding fighter award.”
Following his stellar 2013, Roach would make the jump from amateur to professional, signing with Golden Boys Promotions in 2014 and bringing his dad on as his manager. In April of that year, Roach won his first professional bout against Victor Galindo in a unanimous decision. The win would be the beginning of a 16-match winning streak for Roach to begin his career, quickly making him one of the best boxers in the super featherweight division in the country.
“I think it just says that I’ve been preparing for this my whole career starting as a kid,” Roach said. “I have goals in boxing and off my record alone it shows that I’m pretty close to achieving that. It’s just keep working, keep working, keep working until I get there and once I get there keep working again and set new goals to be the best.”
While a draw against Orlando Cruz in an April 19, 2019 matchup would end his winning streak, Roach would recover quickly with three straight wins including a unanimous decision win over Jonathan Oquendo in a nationally-televised bout at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The victory gave Roach both the World Boxing Organization International Super Feather Title and the World Boxing Organization NABO Super Feather Title.
“It meant a lot,” Roach said. “It showed me that I’m right on track, right where I needed to be in that world class area with the top fighters in my weight class. I definitely feel like I’m still there and I want to fight the best so I can prove that I actually am the best.”
The win also gave Roach his first world title shot against World Boxing Organization World Super Feather Title holder Jamel Herring later in the year. The match against the 20-2 Herring would be one of the toughest of the 24-year-old’s career. As the main event of a Top Rank on ESPN+ card in Nov. 2019, the pressure was on for Roach to come out with a victory.
Unfortunately for Roach, he would end up losing to Herring by unanimous decision, ending his unblemished record. With the first loss still fresh in his mind, Roach came into 2020 with a renewed vigor and hopes to not only return for another world title shot, but to come away with the belt this time.
“It just fueled the fire, man,” Roach said. “It fueled the fire for me to get better. Go back to the drawing board. I let that one slip. Jamel is a great champion, he’s a champion for a reason. … Some people tried to discredit him, but no, they just have to realize I’m on the same level as him. I’m there for a reason. Why else would I be fighting for a world championship? But it’s just fuel. I can’t wait to get back in there and show what that fight has done for me.”
While he’s an experienced boxer who knows how to win through points, Roach has also been able to establish himself as a knockout threat with seven of his 19 career wins coming in knockout fashion. This ability to win in any way was just one of the reasons that ESPN named Roach as one of its top 25 under 25.
“To me, that’s a plus for me just to be recognized by such an establishment,” Roach said. “It’s a blessing and I just want to capitalize off that so I can catapult myself further and further. I can be one of the top 25 boxers in the world essentially, not just the top under 25.”
😉 not going tonight say too much but the takeover is near https://t.co/SNdrnlo00A
— Lamont Roach Jr (@OneOf1x) July 24, 2020
Though he had prepared himself for a March 19 bout against Neil John Tabanao, Roach would have to put a hold on his revenge tour due to COVID-19 restrictions. The fight was initially delayed to the end of August but was recently pushed to Oct. 30, and with each passing day Roach has become more and more eager to get back in the ring.
“Honestly it was a little frustrating to have the fight pushed back two times over a very long period of time, but it comes with the time we’re in right now,” Roach said. “We just have to stay down, stay focused and that’s what we did. We never let our foot off the gas. … I’ve been ready. I’ve been ready since January. People are going to see that. I’ve been in the gym literally since January. We definitely have been working hard.”
A win after such a long delay would of course mean a lot to Roach and his prospects.
“It would mean the world to me, but that’s expected,” Roach said. “Even though that’s expected, I want to exceed those expectations. I want to look spectacular just to show people we’re back and we’re still in the conversation among the best in our division and we want to fight the best in our division.”
With another world title shot on his mind, Roach isn’t worried about who will come in his way whether it be Tabano or any other challenger. Roach has his blinders on for the world title and will stop at nothing to get his shot again. With his experience at every level of boxing and the savvy and strength to beat anyone on a given day, Roach is certainly a challenge for any opponent. Besides, it’s in his nature, he’s been doing it since he was a little kid.