Essomba trainer questions calibre of title challenger Jay Harris

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Thomas Essomba’s trainer has questioned the record and calibre of the title challenger ahead of the big Commonwealth championship showdown.

The Sunderland fighter defends his flyweight belt for the first time on Friday night in London, facing undefeated Jay Harris.

There is no doubting the 26-year-old Welshman has talent, he is steeped in boxing given his dad, Peter, was a British champion while he is trained by the renowned Gary Lockett.

However, Paul O’Malley, the new trainer of the former Olympian, is not sure Harris is in the same class as his boxer.

He says the Swansea mans fight log, while showing nine victories out of nine, does not stand up to close scrutiny.

“Harris might be good, we don’t really know,” said O’Malley. “His record might look good and it has six KOs on it.

“He’s not really been in with anyone of any note. and one of his stoppages was a fighter who’d been KO’d 11 times!

“His record doesn’t look as good as when you compare it to Thomas’s.

“He’s been scheduled to do one eight rounder which finished early and I don’t think he’s ever been more than four rounds.

“Yes, he’s stopped a few but I think he’s going to be in for a shock when he gets in with Thomas.”

Of course, Harris should not be vilified for getting the job done early and he may carry genuine power – what is the old boxing cliche about not getting paid to do overtime?

But he has only totted up 30 pro rounds, compared to 49 for Essomba, who has lost just once in eight bouts.

On the subject of rounds, the Wearsider has been accumulating quite a few in sparring with Tommy Ward in Hartlepool.

The 22-year-old Neil Fannan-trained British super-bantamweight challenger is arguably the North-East’s pound-for-pound star at the moment.

“Thomas has looked class in training,” added O’Malley. “The sparring with Tommy has been fantastic and we’re grateful to Neil and Tommy for their help.

“You could not have ask for better sparring than Tommy.”

The Commonwealth title fight at the iconic York Hall in the capital’s East End will be shown live on BoxNation.