Until June 1st, Jay Harris was arguably one of British boxing’s best-kept secrets. The cat is firmly out of the bag now.
On the same night, Anthony Joshua was stumbling in New York, Jay Harris (16-0) was quietly adding the European flyweight championship to his Commonwealth crown in impressive fashion.
His opponent that night was Angel Moreno, a teak-tough Spaniard who had taken WBC world flyweight champion, Charlie Edwards, the distance just three months previously.
“I felt like it went well. I dominated most of the fight, I thought. I’ve watched it back a couple of times and I still feel the same way,” Harris exclusively told World Boxing News.
Both Harris and Edwards dealt with Moreno expertly. It goes to show that there may not be too much between the high-flying British flyweights. “We both, I thought, won every single round,” he explained.
“We both boxed different styles; Charlie boxed him on the back-foot and I boxed on the front-foot and pushed him back; completely different styles.”
It was expected that Harris would box from distance, but he surprised everyone by meeting Moreno in the middle of the ring to trade leather. The Welshman had watched Edwards’ March bout with Moreno to give himself an idea of what lay ahead.
“I’ve watched that fight back twice to pick up pointers from it. I didn’t do what Charlie did – I went at Moreno.”
The twenty-eight year-old European champion surprised even himself with how well he performed.
“Yeah, just a bit. My dad always said that it would be a comfortable fight, but you obviously don’t take that into consideration straight away. You take it round-by-round. I was surprised at how good I dealt with it, to be honest.”
It hasn’t always been this positive for Harris and his trainer, Gary Lockett. Inactivity and a lack of meaningful fights have soured his time as a professional.
“Yeah, it just felt like my old promoter forgot about me. They just put me on the sidelines for nine months and every time Gary was nagging them for fights, it was just, ‘we’ll get back to you’, and nothing (happened).” At one point – retirement even beckoned. “It did feel that way; what’s the point?”
Fortunately, the boxing management behemoth that is MTK Global came to Harris’ rescue and secured him a shot at the European title. Not only that, but his fights are now broadcast for the world to see on IFL TV and ESPN+.
He’s gone from relative obscurity not so long ago to potentially become Wales’ top boxing talent. He’s twenty-eight-years-old, but a fresh twenty-eight due to his forced inactivity.
So, what’s next for Jay Harris? He’s European champion and is world-ranked inside the top ten by the IBO. Things are looking bright.
“As they say now, at 28, 29, 30 – you start peaking around this time,” he said. “I’d go for any of the top titles. I feel great. I’ve just got to see what happens in the future and we’ll see what sort of fights MTK produce for me.”
Interestingly, the day after I interviewed Jay, it was announced that fellow Welsh flyweight, Andrew Selby had been signed by MTK Global.
A bout between the two Welshmen would be a very fan-friendly one and easy to make due to both being signed at MTK.
Harris told me he’d be delighted to accept a fight with either Selby or Charlie Edwards to see which Brit would come out on top.
“Both are very good fighters. The Selby fight would be brilliant for Wales. Charlie Edwards has got the world title. I’d go for Charlie because of the world title situation.”
Ian Aldous is a Staff Writer for World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @ian7685