Jay Harris: They’re just shots I’ve thrown all my life but I just seem to be stopping people now

Jay Harris: They’re just shots I’ve thrown all my life but I just seem to be stopping people now

Swansea’s rising star Jay Harris (8-0, 5KO) knows he must punch above his weight to gain wider recognition.

Talents in the super-flyweight division are traditionally ignored and struggle for attention until they reach the higher levels but 26-year-old Harris is getting more and more awareness with each impressive outing.

He said: “With more knockouts, more people are interested and that’s the best I can do to get people’s attention. It’s harder in the lighter weights, especially my weight.”

With Britain’s best super-flyweights Kal Yafai and Jamie Conlan progressing to their world title routes, the WBA and WBO respectively, Harris recognised that chances may come quicker than expected. The division isn’t the deepest at domestic level and Harris is relaxed about being fast tracked to a British or Commonwealth title shot, should they become vacant.

He said: “I feel no pressure. I just take it one fight at a time and as long as I keep winning, they can’t ignore me. If I’m winning, the opportunities are going to come.

“I think I’m up there now, ready for titles. When you look at my last five fights, I’ve won them by knockout because I’m above that level. I can go with the big boys up there.

“I’ve got five knockouts on the trot. Maybe next year we can go for titles. After this one, I’ll have a talk to Gary [Lockett – trainer and manager] and my father to see what we can do next year. If they’re confident in me winning or fighting for something like that, I’ll take it – that’s all I need.”

Harris, a forklift driver by trade, is quickly opening the eyes of observers far and wide having started a run of five consecutive knockouts. One punch power is unusual in the 112lbs (8st 2lbs) weight category and Harris knows it’s an important unique selling point.

The streak of early stoppages began with body shots, taught by his former Welsh and British champion father, Peter. However, the latest installment of the highlight reel came courtesy of an explosive right hand to the head and demonstrated his variety.

Harris said: “We always practice the body shots and stuff in the gym but the power is starting to come good now with other shots. I knocked the last one out with a right hand to the head.

“It’s just come naturally, I don’t really look for big shots. They’re just shots I’ve thrown all my life but I just seem to be stopping people now.”

The recipient, London’s Ramesh Ahmadi, had been unbeaten until that moment it landed at the Ice Arena Wales in Cardiff Bay. It was early in the show’s schedule and many punters were yet to enter the venue, though word of it would spread to many on the scene through word of mouth.

Performances like that will open doors for Harris and propel him further up the priority list of Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren. Harris missed out of a televised slot on BoxNation’s broadcast but he expects to be a beneficiary of the new deal with BT Sport in 2017.

He said: “That deal Frank Warren has made with BT Sport is awesome, it’ll be great for everyone coming through like me. It means more shows and hopefully people like me and others will get better opportunities.

“If it meant we got it [a title shot] in Wales, it would be massive. It would be great if we can get something big for me in Wales.”

On Saturday 26th November, Harris will face Liverpool’s Phil Smith (6-2) in an eight round contest at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena. It’s a slightly bigger stage and Harris is naturally keen to keep his momentum rolling, though not focusing on the fact Smith was stopped in his last fight [a sixth round knockout to English champion Charlie Edwards].

He said: “If people come to win, they leave gaps. Beating guys like that shows more of what I’m about. If I can stop the better boys, it shows I’m up there in the top three or top whatever and I can challenge for these titles. I think he [Smith] will be tough, though and I’m just focusing on winning however I can.”

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