Fresh off the back of a typically tough and gritty performance by Swansea’s Jay Harris, in his unsuccessful WBC title challenge against Julio Cesar Martinez, Welsh celebrations are muted but spirits aren’t dampened.
Harris travelled across the Atlantic to take on the fearsome WBC champion and, to the surprise of many, decided to tackle Martinez head-on in a bid to wrestle the title away from ‘El Rey’.
The fight resembled a classic bout from the ringing of the opening bell, with both men tearing in combinations, notably focussing on the body.
Staying off the ropes
Despite conceding a height advantage, Martinez looked fearsome throughout the DAZN commentators compared his style to that of a pint-sized Mike Tyson. But, Harris forced the fight though and refused to be backed up against the ropes.
A tenth round knockdown sealed the fate of the brave contender. Although Harris battled back, spitting defiance to survive the round and finish the remainder of the fight as he had started it.
As has recently been the case, the judges’ scorecards did not reflect the action. Herb Santos shamefully gave a score of 118-109 in favour of the champion. While Fernando Barbosa had it slightly closer with a score of 116-111 for Martinez but the third judge Jesse Reyes gave the most realistic score of 115-112.
Relief at the final bell
Martinez looked thankful when the final bell sounded and said afterwards that Harris had been his toughest opponent to date.
Jay Harris returns to Wales with his head held high. Providing, without a doubt, the most gruelling test for Martinez thus far.
His compatriots Andrew Selby and Charlie Edwards were both stopped early by the aggressive Mexican and Harris remains the only opponent to last 12 rounds with the champion.
His manager Gary Lockett believes that, despite losing the fight, Harris proved that he belongs with the best in the world and will reach a world title. After the fight, Lockett told the press:
“Not the result we wanted last night but now everyone knows that Jay Harris is a world-class fighter. He tore into Julio Cesar Martinez from the first bell, he was hurt, floored, bruised and swollen but outboxed the dangerous Mexican at times and stood up to all the pressure and power punches to lose on points. Jay might have lost but I’d be willing to bet he’ll be a world champion in the not too distant future”
Unfortunately, this time there will be no open-top bus parade through the streets of Swansea but the future certainly remains bright for the likeable Welshman.
Wales awaits its 13th world champion and Jay Harris is in the number one spot to become that champ.
Want to box like a WBC challenger? The first step is training with a pair of Cleto Reyes Sparring Gloves.