PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - February 03, 2021  
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Story by Danny Ziccardi
File Photos by Darryl Cobb Jr/.


North Philadelphia’s up-and-coming featherweight phenom Rashiem Jefferson Jr. (3-0) will take on James Early (5-6) on Saturday, February 6th at 2300 Arena, on the Rodney Rice promoted card at South Philly’s 2300 Arena. Despite the losing record of Early, he is coming off a win over an 11-0 opponent. So Jefferson is not taking his opponent lightly.  

“He beat some good fighters,” Jefferson said. “He beat an 11-0 and a 9-0 fighter. He is no pushover.”   

This will be the fourth professional bout for Jefferson, and the first six-rounder of his young career.   

“I’ve been doing two workouts a day,” he said. “Camp was longer than last camp, since this is my first six rounder.”   

As Jefferson continues to move up, he hopes to build on his overall skill-set.  

“I just want to get better and better,” he said. “I know I got the skills. I just want to keep getting sharper, smarter, faster, stronger.”  

Jefferson is currently undefeated in his first three fights with three unanimous decision victories. In his last bout, Jefferson beat Steve Garagarza (3-3-1), at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, October 9th, 2020, on the undercard of the Top Rank-promoted Emanuel Navarrete vs. Ruben Villa WBO World Featherweight title fight.  

Jefferson decided to turn pro after a successful amateur career. “I was a four time national champion,” he said. “I was also ranked #1 for three years, over three different weight classes. I wanted to turn pro right away. I’ve been wanting to turn pro since I was 16, but my dad wanted me to stay in amateurs.”

Rashiem Jefferson’s father, Rashiem Jefferson Sr., was a prominent Philadelphia featherweight fighter from 2004-2008 who compiled a record of 15-1-1. Jefferson looks to his father for guidance in his career, as not only his father but also as his manager.   

“I’ve always been around boxing, because of my father,” Jefferson said. “When my dad broke his neck, he kept trying to come back to fight, but I didn’t want him to. I wanted him to let me box. He didn’t want me to box, but finally he let me fight when I turned 15. Everything I’m going through now, he’s already been through. He’s been able to guide me through everything. I always listen to my dad. He knows how to get to the top, and knows what is best for me.”  

Despite still being in the infancy of his pro-career, Jefferson has high aspirations.

“My goal right now is to climb the ranks,” Jefferson said. “I want to be 10-0 by the end of 2021 and then continue to move forward. I want to get to the world title by the end of 2023.”

Rashiem oozes confidence and feels he has what it takes to achieve his goals.

“I feel like I’m one of the biggest featherweights in the world, and one of the sharpest,” he said. “A lot of fighters have lives outside of boxing. (But) boxing is my 9-5. It’s 24-7 for me.” 

These lofty goals are paired with many factors of motivation for the young switch hitter. 

“I want my father to experience a world title with me,” he said. “Also, coming from North Philadelphia, Strawberry Mansion section, I have lost a lot people to the streets, including one of my best friends. I lost my Grandmom to cancer, who was my best friend. I also have eleven siblings and a big family. I have a lot of factors that motivate me to get to the top.” 

Rashiem Jefferson has high expectations for himself, and looks to continue his rise in the featherweight division on Saturday night.

The show’s main event features Philly’s Donald Smith against William Foster. The six-bout card, promoted by Rodney Rice’s RDR Promotions, begins at 7:00 PM at the 2300 Arena. It can also be streamed live on or on the FITE App for $9.99, and looks like must see TV for fight fans.




Danny Ziccardi - Philadelphia - February 03, 2021