Across his last 5 fights Jay Harris has claimed Commonwealth & European titles before a maiden world title challenge was a step ever so slightly too far. His performance in the challenge of feared power puncher Julio Cesar Martinez for the WBC flyweight title won him plaudits from far and wide, Luke was able to catch up with Jay recently…
LC: Hi Jay, thanks for taking the time out to speak to SimBoxx, with the complete Covid-19 situation how are you going about keeping fit & keeping your mind occupied during the lockdown?
JH: Basically I’m just running it’s a tough time at the minute for everyone so that’s all I have to do is run, ain’t got a gym to go to and my house is to small to put bags and that up, basically I’ve done every house hold job like the garden and the car and doing a hell of a lot of cooking!
LC: I think an obvious point to discuss is your most recent bout, a world title fight with feared power puncher Julio Cesar Martinez, many observers didn’t give you much hope in that fight but you proved them wrong & was very competitive in an entertaining contest, how much motivation did you take from the detractors?
JH: Obviously I took a lot from them as I knew what I could do and I think if it was in a different country the scores would of been a lot closer and people have been saying it could of been a draw.
LC: It was certainly a close fight, it shown you more than belong at that level but before we get into that I was hoping to delve into the back story of Jay Harris, can you tell us about your amateur background & can you remember you amateur record?
JH: I started boxing at 12 years old through a mate, I just followed him one day to the Gwent ABC gym and my dad started training me from then, I had a total of 36 fights and won 31 of them, had 5 Welsh titles, 1 British and 2 silver.
LC: Fantastic record Jay, you went on to make your pro debut in 2013, what are your memories of that?
JH: It was in the Newport centre I had a good group of friends going and my debut I will never forget I fought a game Brett Fidoe and won on points, nerves and excitement was everywhere that day but it was all worth it.
LC: How did the nerves for making your debut compare to your world title bout?
JH: Diffrent type of nerves that, the world title fight was the biggest fight of my life but also there was alot of excitement too, I loved every minute of it!
LC: Moving into 2017 & you fought for your first major title, the Commonwealth flyweight title against Thomas Essomba, at the iconic York Hall, take us through the fight & ultimately picking up that title…
JH: That fight was such a tough fight, he’s a really tough fighter and considering at that time I only had done 6 rounds making the jump to 12 was hard I remember in the 7th I was thinking that I was so tired then from the 9th I kind of got my second wind and took the victory, there’s a lot I took from that fight, he was a good champion and I learnt a lot from it.
LC: If we can fast forward a little to 2019, you picked up two brilliant wins, firstly for the European flyweight title, defeating Angelo Moreno by UD…
JH: He was fresh off fighting Charlie Edwards and again another tough fight but this time I took it to him and bullied the bully and tbh I thought I won every round another great fight and at home was a very memorable moment.
LC: Then you moved onto the Paddy Barnes bout, both of you had terrific amateur pedigree & your bout was highly anticipated but your tremendous work to the body was a game changer…
JH: Yes definitely again when I went over there I felt as if I was the underdog but I knew in my abilities I could win and when we fought I just felt so much bigger than him and I could just walk through his shots, it was a brilliant experience and I’d love to fight in Belfast again the atmosphere was the best I’ve boxed in.
LC: After the Coronavirus passes & things return to normal, what can we expect from Jay Harris moving forward?
JH: Hopefully get a fight as soon as this is done and then maybe challenge for another world title!
LC: Is there any specific part of your game you plan to work on before another opportunity arises for a world title shot?
JH: Yea there’s always things to work on boxing is a game that you continually learn from so when all the gyms open again will work on things with my dad and Gary.
LC: Our ‘5 to Finish‘…
1. Biggest inspiration?
JH: My family
2. Ideal opponent?
JH: Sugar Ray Leonard it’d be a pleasure to share a ring with my all time favourite fighter!
3. Favourite fight of your career?
JH: Paddy Barnes win
4. All time favourite fight?
JH: Gatti v Ward
5. All time favourite fighter?
JH: Sugar Ray Leonard!
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