James Shuler

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James Shuler
Real name James Shuler
Nickname(s) Black Gold
Weight(s) Middleweight
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Reach 78 in (198 cm)
Nationality American
Born (1959-05-29)29 May 1959
Died March 17, 1986(1986-03-17) (aged 26)
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 23
Wins 22
Wins by KO 16
Losses 1

James Shuler (May 29, 1959 – March 17, 1986) was a U.S. Olympic and professional boxer from Philadelphia known as "Black Gold."

Amateur career[edit]

Shuler was the 1979 and 1980 National Golden Gloves Light Middleweight Champion. He qualified at 156 pounds and was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic boxing team that perished in an air crash in Warsaw, Poland, on March 14, 1980 [1]. Shuler was not with the team, however, as he had stayed in America due to injury [2]. The team was en route to Warsaw, Poland for the USA vs. Poland Box-off as part of "USA vs. the World." event. Among the USA Boxing teammates who were killed in the plane crash were Lemuel Steeples from St. Louis; Calvin Anderson from Connecticut; Paul Palomino - the brother of Carlos Palomino ; George Pimentel, and Olympic Coach, Sarge Johnson. Members of the team who were also not aboard included Bobby Czyz and Alex Ramos [3].

Shuler's hopes were dashed when President Jimmy Carter imposed an Olympic boycott that forbid the U.S. Olympians from competing in the 1980 Summer Olympics.[1] In 2007, he posthumously received one of 461 Congressional Gold Medals created especially for the spurned athletes.[2]

Professional career[edit]

Shuler began his professional boxing career as a middleweight on September 12, 1980 with a second-round knockout of Chris Rogers in Philadelphia. During his five years as a pro, he had 22-1 record with sixteen knockouts. His first loss came on March 10, 1986 to Thomas Hearns when he was knocked out in the first round.


Shuler died in a motorcycle accident in Philadelphia on 17 March 1986, just a week after his last fight.[3][4]

Memory and tribute[edit]

Bob Arum, the promoter of Shuler's last fight, said that the boxer came to Arum's room a day after the Hearns fight and thanked him for promoting it. Arum, who had promoted many bouts, said that Shuler was the only fighter who had ever done that, adding, "He was a decent, decent young man."[5]

In 1995, close friend Percy Custus opened the 'James Shuler Memorial Boxing Gym' in boxer's native Philadelphia in honor of the fallen fighter. Custus met Shuler in the 1970s at the Joe Frazier Gym where they trained together and remained close friends for the rest of James’ life.[6][7]

Professional boxing record[edit]

22 Wins (16 knockouts, 6 decisions), 1 Loss (1 knockout) [4]
Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
Loss 40-2 United States Thomas Hearns KO 1 10/03/1986 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada WBC NABF Middleweight Title. Shuler knocked out at 1:13 of the first round.
Win 16-13 United States Jerry Holly UD 10 04/07/1985 United States Resorts Casino Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey 8-2, 9-0, 10-0.
Win 34-0-2 United States James Kinchen SD 12 16/02/1985 United States The Sands, Atlantic City, New Jersey WBC NABF Middleweight Title. 115-114, 116-113, 114-115.
Win 15-4 Guyana Kenny Bristol UD 10 25/02/1984 United States Resorts Casino Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 23-3 United States Clint Jackson PTS 12 17/01/1984 United States Pennsylvania Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania WBC NABF Middleweight Title.
Win 15-5 United States Leroy Green, Jr. KO 1 25/11/1983 Canada Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver, British Columbia
Win 12-5-2 United States Wilbur Henderson KO 3 28/09/1983 United States Scranton, Pennsylvania
Win 21-4 United States Norberto Sabater KO 2 17/09/1983 United States The Sands, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win -- United States Wilfredo Acosta KO 1 14/06/1983 United States Philadelphia Civic Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Win 30-23-5 Dominican Republic Inocencio De la Rosa KO 4 18/03/1983 United States Atlantic City Convention Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 56-7-3 United States Ray Seales UD 12 23/10/1982 United States Great Gorge Resort, McAfee, New Jersey WBC NABF Middleweight Title. 118-111, 119-110, 117-112.
Win 9-9 Dominican Republic Dario De Asa KO 2 18/09/1982 United States The Sands, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 4-5 United States Collin Keller KO 2 12/06/1982 United States Playboy Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 6-4 United States Ricky Sheppard KO 4 11/04/1982 United States Playboy Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 17-8 Dominican Republic Jesus Castro KO 4 13/02/1982 United States Playboy Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey Castro knocked out at 0:42 of the fourth round.
Win 1-6 United States Wyatt Simpkins KO 4 07/11/1981 United States Playboy Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 5-2-2 United States Kenny Hodges KO 3 18/07/1981 United States Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
Win 2-3 United States Willard Nance KO 4 17/06/1981 United States Martin Luther King Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Win 0-2 Vincent Evans TKO 1 11/04/1981 United States Concord Resort Hotel, Kiamesha Lake, New York Referee stopped the bout at 1:33 of the first round.
Win 0-7 United States Robert Gregory Dean Thomas TKO 5 28/03/1981 United States Resorts Casino Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 2-2 United States Charlie Hecker TKO 3 28/11/1980 United States Felt Forum, New York City Referee stopped the bout at 1:09 of the third round.
Win 3-1 United States Jamal Arbubakar UD 4 10/10/1980 United States Felt Forum, New York City
Win 0-2 United States Chris Rogers TKO 2 12/09/1980 United States Felt Forum, New York City


  1. ^ http://www.yelp.com/biz/james-shuler-memorial-boxing-gym-philadelphia
  2. ^ Caroccioli, Tom; Caroccioli, Jerry. Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. Highland Park, IL: New Chapter Press. pp. 243–253. ISBN 978-0942257403. 
  3. ^ http://articles.philly.com/1986-03-28/sports/26085097_1_james-shuler-bumper-sanctuary%7C"Boxer's Requiem: Shuler's Corner Is Empty Now", by Sarajane Freligh, Inquirer Staff Writer, posted on 28 March 1986.
  4. ^ http://articles.philly.com/1986-04-01/news/26079096_1_streets-james-shuler-bike%7C"Requiem For A Middleweight On A North Phila Street", by George Azar, April 1986.
  5. ^ http://articles.philly.com/1986-03-25/news/26084136_1_untimely-death-professional-defeat-hearns-fight%7C"James Shuler, Champion", 1986.
  6. ^ http://www.yelp.com/biz/james-shuler-memorial-boxing-gym-philadelphia
  7. ^ http://www.maxboxing.com/news/max-boxing-news/remembering-a-true-champion-james-black-gold-shuler

External links[edit]