MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Jamal James has come a long way in his boxing career, but to fully understand who he is and where he's going, you first need to understand where he's from.
He started training at Minneapolis' Circle of Discipline at just four years old and quickly grew into the sort of success story the boxing gym, which looks to instill confidence and provide a positive outlet to at-risk youth, loves to trumpet.
"When I was a kid the guys I was looking up to, they're the ones that showed me some of the skills I have today," James said. "Not just in the ring but just in life--how to deal with certain situations, how to carry yourself as a young man, and now I'm able to give that back."
It's a central component of what Circle of Discipline hopes to teach, getting its students to pass on the lessons they've learned to the next generation.
James is currently the third-ranked welterweight by the World Boxing Association and says that even as he nears a possible title match, the 29-year-old is still working to pass on the lessons he's learned at his longtime gym.
"That's my ultimate goal, to get that opportunity and bring a title right back here to Minnesota," he said. "But in reality, the giving back and the investment I've put into the organization that has invested in me is the whole reason I'm able to do what I do."