Lamont Roach Jr. is proud to be the WBA junior lightweight titleholder, but even prouder to have opened the door for his family and to have given them opportunities. His father, Lamont Roach Sr., serves as his trainer and promoter, and his younger brother, Jordan, will turn pro on the same card this Friday (June 27) in Washington along with his teammate Benjamin Johnson. 

The event will also feature women’s bantamweight contender Rianna Rios who trains out of the same gym. Roach Jr. isn’t calling Friday’s fight on ProBox TV a victory lap for the beloved Bernard Roach, also known as “Boogaloo”, who laid the foundation for the NoXcuses Boxing Gym, which later became a promotional outfit, but it might as well be. 

Roach Jr. makes his first title defense against Feargal McCrory at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington D.C., with the fight available on the ProBox TV app and on YouTube.

Roach Jr. (24-1-1, 9 KOs), 28, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, has brought a world title fight back to Washington D.C., doing so with his loved ones by his side. He started at a community gym with “Boogaloo”, and since his mentor’s passing, his father, Lamont Roach Sr., has been there. 

In the rival corner is Ireland’s McCrory (16-0, 8 KOs), 31, a southpaw looking to spoil the Roach family’s special moment.

Roach Jr. reflected on his now-deceased mentor “Boogaloo”, whom he honors on his trunks.

“It means the world because he had been telling me that ever since I started boxing, literally even before I knew I was going to be a professional boxer, he always told me ‘You’ll be one of the greatest in this sport,’” Roach Jr. recalled. “He told me that I was going to be special, man. It is sad to say he wasn’t there the day we captured the world championship, but he was there.”

Though young, Roach Jr. finds himself in a unique spot as a mentor, especially to Johnson and his younger brother Jordan, who are nearly a decade younger. Roach Jr. has been preparing them for their debuts, like his late coach did for him.

“I am hard on them because I want them to succeed and probably be better than me,” said Roach Jr. “I’ve been preparing them for that ever since the notion that they would turn professional was in the air.

“So I tell them all the time, those gloves are small as hell. Just because you think a guy might not be able to punch or anything like that all that stuff, really, in hindsight, hurts. Whether it hurts during the fight or after the fight… and it only takes one punch. There is no headgear.”

When he looks around the gym, Roach Jr. sees excitement among his family members and team who have become like extended family. 

“It is the eagerness, really,” said Roach Jr. about the gym atmosphere ahead of Friday’s show. “People are just excited.”

His father and promoter, Roach Sr., added, “He has turned into a leader in the gym. People know that a world champion can come from the ground up here, and now even if people don’t say it, they watch him and study what he is doing.”

Roach Jr., not just a titleholder but also a veteran voice of the gym and the face of NoXcuses, is leading the way.

“I feel blessed that I’m able to do that, so the poster can read, ‘This is championship boxing brought to you by NoXcuses boxing’,” smiled Roach Jr.. “Once this takes off, there is no looking back. That door is getting knocked down.”

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