Barrie Jones raids Jerome Samuels to reclaim Welsh title

Barrie Jones raids Jerome Samuels to reclaim Welsh title

By Dewi Powell: Ferndale’s veteran Barrie Jones (21-10, 8KO) reclaimed his old Welsh light-middleweight title with a third round stoppage of Newport’s Jerome ‘The Comeback Kid’ Samuels (5-6, 1KO).

The scheduled 10 rounder at the Newport Centre was expected to go the distance but Jones needed less than nine minutes to become a two-time Welsh champion. Jones, who challenged for the British welterweight title in 2010, made his first mark after barely 20 seconds as he caught Samuels high on the side of the head with a right hook.

A stunned Samuels slumped to his knees but referee Reece Carter didn’t commence a count, which could have been costly to Jones if the bout went to the scorecards. Still, Jones hadn’t noticed and he waded in to Samuels, who was forced to manage the balance of recovering and replying enough to hold his ground at the same time.

Jones said: “I caught him early in the first round. I didn’t think it was a very good shot at the time but it must’ve been. It was on top of the head, I think. I didn’t want to rush in [to] try finish it because we had the rest of the fight to go.

“It was definitely a knockdown. I hit him on top of the head and he went down. If it was on points, it could’ve come back and haunted me a bit, couldn’t it?”

The second round started at a slower pace, allowing both boxers the opportunity to sit down on their punches, ensuring that the intensity remained. 21-year-old Samuels, perhaps through inexperience, was guilty of ignoring his advantages of reach and height. Instead, the reigning champion circled to his right, opening an angle for Jones to score with his southpaw backhand.

Samuels, still game beyond his years, had been fast tracked to championship level in just 10 fights and it showed. He was learning lessons against a veteran of 31 outings who has fought former and future world champions.

Jones landed a classy left hook and right uppercut combination in the third round that badly hurt Samuels and he wasn’t given a second to breathe or recover, visiting the floor twice more. When Samuels stood up, he was soon trapped on the ropes and referee Reece Carter was forced to end the fight after two minutes and 28 seconds of the third round.

Jones said: “I took my time. I was loading up big heavy shots because I didn’t think he’d be able to take them and he couldn’t.

“I thought I’d be a lot stronger than him. No disrespect to him, he’s only young and he’s not very big for the weight either. I knew I’d be too strong for him.  He got a little bit involved and he shouldn’t have, which is a bit of inexperience.

“I felt strong at the weight. I felt brilliant, to be honest. [The] best I’ve felt in a long time, I hadn’t really killed myself to make weight for this. It was comfortable.”

After turning professional under the training of former British champion Steve Sammy Sims and losing five fights, the 21-year-old then joined Richie Garner. Together, they enjoyed run of five straight wins, culminating with the Welsh title win by a single point against Dai Jones in March 2014. However, that’s where their relationship ended and Samuels rejoined Sims for the title defence against Jones.

30-year-old Jones, in the other corner, re-won the Welsh title in just his second fight in three years. He still has enough time to remount a move towards a British title fight if guided carefully through a relatively shallow domestic light-middleweight division.

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