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A devastating knockout artist whose aggressive style has made him one of boxing’s most exciting young stars, 25-year old James Kirkland is the newest member of the Golden Boy Promotions roster, and a fighter many believe is destined for great things in the sport.
Kirkland began boxing as a youngster, hoping to parlay his talent with his fists into a way out of a tough neighborhood for his family. A 134-12 amateur career would follow, but instead of chasing after Olympic dreams, he decided that his talents would be best served in the punch for pay ranks.
So on August 25, 2001, Kirkland, just 17, turned pro in San Antonio with a third round TKO of Maurice Chalmers.  By the time less than two years had passed, he was 11-0 with 9 knockouts, and the buzz about him was getting loud.  But then he got caught up with the wrong crowd and was arrested.  He ended up serving six months in jail and six months on house arrest, and his boxing career ground to a screeching halt.
Once he was released, Kirkland vowed to turn his life around and get back to the business of winning a world championship.  He returned to the ring in April of 2006 with a third round stoppage of Manny Castillo, and by the end of the year he had fought and won six times, taking out standouts such as Alexis Divison and Sherwin Davis in the process.
In 2007, Kirkland continued to break out on the national scene with wins over Billy Lyell (TKO8), Ossie Duran (W10), Mohammad Said (KO2), and Allen Conyers (TKO1), but 2008 was ‘The Mandingo Warrior’s biggest year to date, as he scored an HBO-televised first round KO win over Eromosele Albert in May, a second round TKO victory over Ricardo Cortes in September, and an eighth round TKO over ‘The Contender’s Brian Vera to close out the year in November.
Now ranked first in the world by the WBA, and third by the WBO Kirkland – who kicked off his 2009 campaign with a sixth round stoppage of former world title challenger Joel Julio on March 7th - is rapidly closing in on a world title shot, and once he gets there, he promises to leave the ring with a championship belt in his possession.