UNDEFEATED welterweight contender Jamal “Shango” James (20-0, 9KOs) answered the last minute call to fill in for Bryant Perella after the Fort Myers, Florida boxer was rejected by the New York State Athletic commission due to a nagging thumb injury. He will be facing Olympic bronze medalist Yordenis Ugas (15-3, 7 KOs) from Cuba on the Miguel Flores – Ryan Kielczweski Premier Boxing Champions undercard in Verona, New York.

In a move rarely seen in the modern boxing, James jumped at the chance to get back into the ring less than four full weeks since his last fight.

“The opportunity presented itself,” said James simply in response to why he was willing to take the fight with such short notice. “In this game, in order to be elite, you have to be ready.”

In a world in which most boxers at his level barely fight two or three times a year, James’ desire to stay active is refreshing, albeit also surprising considering his last opponent, Wale Omotoso gave him a run for his money.

”We came out victorious,” said James. “(Omotoso) came to fight. It was a good tough fight. It tested my fortitude and will. We learn something from every fight so, with that being said, I feel good about it.”

James clearly won the match on points but Omotoso doled out some punishment along the way, arguing in the post fight interviews, that he was the one who should have earned the victory.

With another notch in the win column, James continues his climb up the welterweight ranks. On Friday night, he faces the crafty Ugas who had a stellar amateur career as part of the Cuban national team but has struggled to find his groove in the professional ranks. As usual, James will have the height advantage going into the fight.

When Boxing News asked him what he thought about his future foe, James responded with the calm and collected demeanor that we’ve learned to expect from him. “He was a Cuban Olympic Bronze medalist with a lot of experience. I know he’s coming to do his best to beat me and just that alone is enough to keep me motivated to not let that happen.”