I signed up for a boxing class a little over 10 years ago with the hope of getting motivated to get in shape and quit smoking.

I had no idea when signing up for the class I was also signing up for a great friendship with an inspiring athlete, and all around amazing human being.

Jerry 'Slam Man' James happened to be the boxing instructor for the class I had signed up for, and his name was one I had heard many times while growing up in South Dakota.

This week James will be honored for his boxing career and inducted into the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame.

It's would be easy to look at someones sports career with all they accomplished, and agree they are deserving of the recognition.

When it comes to Jerry James I personally believe his greatest accomplishments continue to unfold outside the ring as he inspires and helps those around him.

Jerry continues to train people in the sport he loves at Top Flight Boxingand now has plans to help people with Parkinson’s Disease live a better quality of life through a boxing program called Rock Steady Boxing.

Here is a Q n A with Jerry and details for tickets to the SD Sports Hall of Fame Event:

When did you start boxing?  1980

What was it about boxing that drew you to the sport?  

It was more about me being afraid to have to fight.  When I found out that I was good at it even without training with a coach, made me think that I could go far with training.

When and why did you move to South Dakota?  

Came to SD in 1975.  Went to Yankton College for 2 years.  I wanted to go somewhere totally different from New York City.  

What awards, titles, and championships have you collected in your career?

I was a several time State Champ, Regional Champ, National Runner Up, National Champion and Voted Most Outstanding Boxer. Won Nationals in Coconut Creek-Master Division, Won Ringside World Championship and Won Gold Medal in the Australia Master Games

In your eyes what has been the highlight of your career?

Being Inducted into SD Sports Hall of Fame and Knocking out a 2 time National Champion in 1min, 35second of the first round at a National Tournament.  

A lot of people would have hung up the gloves a long time ago, what made you want to compete in the master’s tournaments?

I’m super competitive and enjoy challenging myself to see if I still have it.

What made you decide to start training other people?

My love for people and my dedication of wanting to share my God given gift with others.  Also, I enjoy being a part of seeing and helping other attain their dream

What does it mean to you to be inducted into the SD sports hall of fame?

Never saw it coming.  It wasn’t on my radar even after seeing my younger brother Darryl James being Inducted into Yankton College Hall of Fame 2 or 3 years ago. My goal in my mind only took me to wanting to be a State, Regional, National Champion and wanting to be on Olympic Team.

Is there anything else you would like people to know about your career or you as a person?

My love of people, my love of boxing and my desire to see other people reach their goal has taken to Rock Steady Boxing.  A boxing program that helps people with Parkinson’s Disease live a better quality of life.

For a complete list of athletes and details on the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame or to attend the event click here.

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