- Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 January 2011 22:24
- Published on Tuesday, 18 January 2011 22:24
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Paul Cornelius Jerry’s road to the proving grounds of Olympic hopefuls is not for the faint of heart. Most recently, at the USA Boxing Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia Regional Championship in Oxon Hill, Maryland, the King George County resident and University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) sophomore stood toe-to-toe with 2008 Beijing Olympian Gary Russell in a three-round featherweight fight.
After a tumultuous first round that involved a number of exchanges between the two boxers, the ring physician stopped the fight due a cut over Jerry’s eye. Prior to the Russell fight, Jerry lost a close, yet controversial decision against Cesar Chavez from Round-One Gym. In light of the decision, Jerry was awarded an opportunity to fight again on the second day. Russell went on to win the championship fight in his weight class on Sunday, while Jerry’s quest for a possible boxing career continues on.
“It was a close decision, where everyone thought I had won the fight,” Jerry said. “My opponent didn’t think that he had won, because when his name was called he appeared confused.”
While Jerry’s record has been slightly blemished by his recent performance, his overall 7-3 standing, which includes two Golden Gloves region and district championships, as a novice is impressive. In addition to his accomplishments, Jerry maintains a 3.2 GPA as a sophomore at UMES, while serving as a motivational speaker for his father and trainer Anthony Murrill’s outreach organization, X2REP, aka Fighting for the Future.
Through the support and guidance of Murrill, and a positive outlook on life, Jerry has found the strength to cope with the cancer battle facing his mother, along with the pressures of transitioning from a Maryland high school environment to a Virginia educational atmosphere.
Not only did Jerry contribute his athletic talents to the King George High School wrestling and football program, but also he became a model citizen during his senior year. Jerry, along with two other standout wrestlers, represented the Foxes in the State Championships.
Jerry’s introduction into the world of boxing was by default, and a means of staying in shape, while performing community activist work-related activities. Through the insistence of Murrill, Jerry continued to train after graduating from high school. His athletic pursuits included martial arts, wrestling and boxing.
“By him being one of the smaller premier athletes in the KGHS sports programs (football, track and field, wrestling) other young people who may not have the discipline, statue and desire that Paul has can see that all it takes is somebody showing you that anything is possible,” Murrill said. “Whatever the mind can conceive, you can achieve.”
Along with his athletic pursuits, Jerry leadership skills impressed the UMES student body to the point that he was named freshman class president and Mr. UMES Sophomore. In between training and studying he attends leadership conferences throughout the country.
Currently Jerry trains at the Hilcrest Boxing Club, where famed boxing trainer and club owner Vardell McCann has seen many Gold Glove and professional champions come through his gym.
“Paul has a good character about him, and he’s a nice person who boxes good,” McCann said during a recent sparring session that involved Jerry boxing fighter Jacob Ambgah who out-weighed him by more than 30 pounds.
In spite of her illness, Jerry’s mother continues to serve as an inspiration to him. During his fight on Saturday, she summoned the strength to come to Oxon Hill to support her son.
“I was really excited when she came down, but I was mad when they stopped the fight,” Jerry said. “I was working on some new combinations and some techniques that my dad had taught me. It bothered me that I didn’t get a chance to show everything that I had in my toolbox.”
Jerry and Murrill are aggressively raising funds to pay for Ms. Jerry’s cancer treatments through the auspices of X2REP, as well a number of government and private organizations.
Other than returning to college on Jan. 22, Jerry’s schedule is totally consumed with an array of athletic activities: Gold Gloves Championships, Sugar Ray Leonard Gym, Palmer Park, Md., February; three 5k marathons between February and March; and boxing finals in Waldorf, Md., Indianapolis, Ind., and Las Vegas, Nev.).
Whether it’s his unforgettable smile or his constant use of the X2REP adage “alright, alright, alright,” Jerry’s academic, athletic and personal life will always be looked upon as a positive example of the human spirit.