Thomas Essomba faces a ‘must-win’ bout against Jay Harris to set up world title shot

Sunderland boxer Thomas Essomba
Sunderland boxer Thomas Essomba

Thomas Essomba faces a “must-win” mission in London when he defends his Commonwealth flyweight title for the first time.

That was the message from manager and promoter Phil Jeffries as the clock ticks down to his eagerly-anticipated clash with Jay Harris a week on Friday.

The Sunderland boxer faces unbeaten Swansea star Jay Harris at the world-famous York Hall, with the fight shown live on BoxNation.

It promises to be a tough examination for the 29-year-old but Jeffries is “convinced” Essomba has what it takes to return to Wearside triumphant.

His boxer won the vacant championship on away ground back in October 2015 when he crushed Sheffield’s Waleed Din in round 11 of their confrontation.

“Before Thomas won the title, everyone was talking about the unbeaten Waleed Din and how good he was,” said Jeffries.

“I’m not saying Waleed wasn’t good, but I knew how good my man was and he proved it.

“I’m convinced he’s one of the best flyweights or super-flyweights in the world.

“He won the title in the other guy’s backyard and I don’t see why he can’t go to London and win there either.”

Jeffries is going up against the legendary fight figure Frank Warren, who is looking to take Harris to the top.

The 26-year-old, from Swansea, has won all nine of his pro fights, six by KO and is in the form of his life.

“I’m over the moon to have got this fight for Thomas, it’s what he deserves,” said Jeffries.

“He’s not had a great deal of luck.

“He was supposed to defend his title back in May, but Iain Butcher could not make flyweight.

“There just aren’t that many flyweights about and that’s what makes this a must-win fight.

“If he were to lose, I’m not sure what’s out there, but if he wins then he’s in line for a world title shot.

“This fight is that important.”

Essomba suffered his first pro defeat in May when he was outpointed by Butcher in Edinburgh.

While the Scot failed to make the championship weight, the bout went ahead as a non-title 10-rounder.

That took the former Olympian’s record to seven wins and a defeat from his eight appearances.

“I had no complaints about the result,” added Jeffries. “Thomas goes to London as champion and I’m confident he’ll come back as champion.”