In the coming weeks, Julius ‘The Chef’ Jackson (19-0 15KO) will be heading out to Big Bear, California, to help Gennady Golovkin prepare for his May bout against Willie Monroe Jr. This will be his fourth training camp with one of boxing’s hardest hitters. The fact trainer Abel Sanchez continues to bring Jackson to work with his champion is a very positive sign indeed. GGG has put the fear of God in almost every notable fighter from 154 to 168 lb. Training opportunities do not come bigger than this.
It’s all smiles, cooking and training from Jackson in sunny Saint Thomas, as his Snapchat story tells. You can be assured that the nickname is not without substance. Despite studying at the Florida Culinary Institute and partnering in a catering company, “The Chef” continues to establish himself in one of boxing’s most competitive divisions: the super middleweights. Fighters from both sides of the Atlantic are currently dominating at 168. Rising talents are beginning to cast a shadow over some of the more established names still in the mix. At the end of 2014, Julius and his super-welterweight brother John Jackson (19-2 15KO) signed with advisor Al Haymon, who currently presides over the finest stable in the sport. It’s a smart move for any aspiring fighter.
Julius is the son of Julian ‘The Hawk’ Jackson, who was ranked at number 25 on a list of the top 100 punchers of all time by Ring magazine. His knockouts over Buster Drayton, Herol Graham and Terry Norris are nothing short of legendary. It appears The Chef is cooking with his father’s KO recipe, though he assures The Fight City that he’s packing much more than a big punch.
“I consider myself to be the full package, but I still don’t feel like a knockout artist. I love mixing up combinations, making my opponent miss, and I love using my jab. But naturally I have some of my dad’s power as you can see from my record.”
In 2008, Jackson represented the US Virgin Islands at the Beijing Olympics. After turning pro a year later, he has bided his time while building up his record in the pro ranks. “The Chef” made his national television debut in December 2014 against Jonathan Nelson, who had taken his first loss a year earlier against Brandon Gonzales, but was still to be Jackson’s toughest test to date. He passed with flying colours, scoring knockdowns in rounds one and eight before scoring a ninth round TKO.
Golovkin is not the only champion to recognize Jackson’s talent and employ him in his training camps. Sergio Martinez also enlisted Jackson on two occasions.
“Experience with both champions did wonders for me. I had doubts about my style and boxing ability, but after working with them, and the feedback I got from them and their coaches, it really boosted my confidence and technique. I feel more in love with the sport now, and I know I can perform on a championship level.”
Jackson is humble and enthusiastic about his future. Training with such high calibre fighters has instilled a new confidence in his ability to compete at an elite level, whilst maintaining the will to learn. It is also refreshing to see the parallels in attitude he shares with his training buddy GGG, as he made it very clear he will not shy away from any opponent in his division. He is currently ranked fifth by the IBF, with only George Groves, Gilberto Ramirez, Andre Dirrell and James DeGale above him. Four big names in boxing.
“They are all on my radar. I’m an old school fighter. I want the challenges and I want the tough fights. But my career is guided by Al Haymon and 340 Boxing, so I will fight whoever they put in front of me!”
The Chef’s next match will be in June with an opponent still to be named. An exciting future lies ahead for the super middleweight division. It may only be a matter of time before GGG slaps on a few pounds to join the ranks. And Jackson, who has sparred many rounds with the fearsome Kazakh, might just be the man to give him a serious run for his money. Time will tell. — Sherif Dhaimish