Jay Harris, Dale Evans and Alex Hughes give Lockett’s gym a hat-trick

Jay Harris, Dale Evans and Alex Hughes give Lockett’s gym a hat-trick

Before Liam Williams rocked the Ice Arena Wales with a thrilling knockout of Gary Corcoran, three of his stablemates took centre stage and made it a hat trick for Miskin manager and trainer Gary Lockett.

The only thing neater than the all-white attire of Swansea’s Jay Harris (8-0, 5KO) is his punch picking and he proved it by laying out Ramesh Ahmadi (5-1-1, 2KO) in the third round with a one-shot wonder.

The Welshman was forced to take an almost open-handed right from the unbeaten Ahmadi halfway through the opener but the visitor’s success was limited to just that. Harris appeared to find his range at the end of the first, launching a series of his own rights over ‘The Lions’ low left hand and they would eventually take their toll.

Harris is the son of Peter Harris, a flame-haired Welsh and British featherweight champion in the 1990s. Though their pugilistic talent is hereditary, their style isn’t and Harris opts to box at mid-range. It gave the 24-year-old room to step in with his right and he couldn’t miss in the second round, eventually dropping the Afghan born operator at the end of the session.

Under instruction to keep his left side covered, Ahmadi attempted to push Harris back with flurries of hooks in the third. However, his enthusiasm was soon punished as Harris found the room for his right hand again and produced a flush one to end the scheduled six rounder. It laid Ahmadi out and referee Reece Carter didn’t bother to administer a count.

The super-flyweight division is a shallow one and 25-year-old Harris’ rise to title level could come sooner rather than later, especially having fought a fellow unbeaten prospect so early in his career.

Harris was fighting in Wales for the first time since he made his professional debut in 2013 when he shutout journeyman Brett Fidoe at the Newport Centre.

After fears of a forced retirement, St Clears’ Dale Evans (11-3-2, 3KO) finally returned to the ring again and collected every round against Yorkshire’s Ryan Hardy (8-10), taking a deserved 60-54 win.

24-year-old Evans is usually all-action but he was more measured in his approach and paced himself for the full six round distance. Living in West Wales, Evans has found it hard to balance working life and training with Cardiff based trainer Gary Lockett, whose gym is a two-hour round trip away.

‘Big Boy’ has only three knockout wins in his four-year professional career, a statistic that betrays his numbing power. Starting with steady jabs, Evans attempted to use that power most notably with hooks to the body.

Hardy’s defence was hard to crack open and when he showed ambition, Evans’ defence matched it as the Welshman took his turn to uncharacteristically slip and evade. Evans is slightly short for a welterweight but used it as an advantage to duck under Hardy’s wide swings.

Evans, who reached the final of Prizefighter in 2013, became a lot more active in the third round and the feints with his feet forced Hardy in to making mistakes. The increased activity resulted in a slight cut above Hardy’s left eye, though it wasn’t sufficient enough to warrant an inspection by the ringside doctor.

Hardy found himself increasingly pushed back by Evans’ jab in the fifth round, which was shot from a low position and out of Hardy’s eye-line. It put the visitor on the ropes and Evans unleashed a strong two-fisted flurry to finish the round, also displacing Hardy’s mouthpiece.

After a passive five rounds, Hardy saved up his energy for the final session and tried to crowd Evans’ output. The forward thinking was quickly detained as Evans landed with several straight shots to deter any more Hardy advances.

Hardy enjoyed a winning start to his paid career, recording six consecutive wins. However, they’ve been harder to come by in recent times as he’s stepped up to welterweight and taken tasks in the away corner.

Evans was ending nearly nine months of inactivity, having not fought since stepping in at late notice to challenge then British and Commonwealth champion Sam Eggington. Evans scared the favourite with a third round knockdown and found himself frozen out since.

Maerdy’s Alex Hughes (8-0, 3KO) increased his unbeaten streak to eight straight with a competitive but clear 80-75 decision win against Huddersfield’s Alistair Warren (9-13-4, 4KO).

Hughes has only recently decided to campaign in the super-middleweight category but was confident to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Warren. It led to several half-clinches and referee Martin Williams was quick to separate them to avoid rabbit punches.

The shell-like defence of Hughes saw him avoid Warren’s efforts to land over the top. Instead, the 22-year-old would look to skirt around the sides to land uppercuts, which first saw success at the end of the opener.

It didn’t deter Warren’s attacks but their forthright nature continued to leave him open to Hughes’ sharp shooting. He again had success in the second, bundling Warren to the ropes and on the retreat but the bell sounded to disrupt them.

Hughes could have been accused of standing too close and his disregard for Warren’s power saw ‘Bad News’ hold his feet too often. It was evident that Hughes was taking more out of Warren than the other way around, though.

The flashy shoulder guard saw him ride Warren’s punches to take away their sting, before he swayed back with meatier replies. The distance between them grew as the rounds ticked on and it gave Hughes more leverage to counter Warren’s non-stop swarms.

To Warren’s credit, the Chris Aston trained operator never shirked away from his duties and continually pushed the pace for the full eight rounds. The final installment followed the same pattern as the seven previous ones, the only disruption coming when the tape on Hughes’ gloves came undone.

After never stopping an opponent in a very respectable amateur career, Hughes raced to three knockout wins in his first four outings as a professional. Since then, the early showers became less frequent and he has heard the final bell every time since.