It's a huge test for Welshman Jay Harris this weekend. Betfair's boxing writer Frankie Monkhouse looks at his chances...
"Harris was last seen beating Paddy Barnes at the Ulster Hall in Belfast late last year, stopping his opponent inside four brutally short rounds"
Big fights come thick and fast
Following the drama and excitement of Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury in Las Vegas last weekend the fight game would have been forgiven for taking a week off to allow followers to catch their breath. That's not the case, however, as we're back over the top for another bumper card involving respected Brits in America.
Eddie Hearn for Matchroom Boxing stages what promises to be a competitive evening of championship boxing from Frisco, Texas. Unbeaten Welshman Jay Harris takes on Mexican Julio Cesar Martinez over 12 rounds for the WBC world flyweight title.
Harris in a hurry
Harris gets the chance to rub shoulders with boxing royalty, fighting on the undercard of Mikey Garcia v Jessie Vargas, showcasing his talents to a global audience. The 27-year-old from Swansea will be eager to do just that and if he's able to secure victory in Texas he will launch his career towards the stars. It's an important night.
With a professional record reading 17 wins against no defeats and draws, the 5ft 5inch orthodox has claimed nine of those victories inside the distance, resulting in a 53% KO average. That's quite an achievement for a man competing in the 112lbs category. He's a fighter in a rush, as talented boxing his way to the win as he is powerful in attack.
Harris was last seen beating Paddy Barnes at the Ulster Hall in Belfast late last year, stopping his opponent inside four brutally short rounds to continue his winning form. The victor raced out of the traps that evening and looked unaffected by the crowd when dropping Barnes with a body shot in the third and repeating the feat in the fourth. An 18th career win is a chunky 9/1 on the Sportsbook.
Martinez beat Selby in five
Much excitement surrounds Harris but it's his opponent Martinez who is the betting traders' pick to win this match, Betfair having the Mexican as clear favourite to retain his title. The champion from Mexico City has won 15 and lost once so far. He has cut down a dozen of his opponents before the final bell and that 71% KO average is sure to keep Team Harris up at night.
The only defeat present on the card of Martinez is a split decision points reverse on debut, way back in 2015. The talented and determined warrior didn't let that false start throw him off-course, however. He bounced back to reel off a string of wins that took him to the summit of the flyweight division. Included on his CV are wins over Andrew Selby and Charlie Edwards, although the latter was changed to a no contest.
Edwards kept his WBC belt that evening after replays showed Martinez had continued his attack after knocking his man to the canvas in round three. British fight fans want to see the rematch, but for that to happen El Rey will have to defeat Harris. That looks likely, the Betfair Sportsbook offering no more than 1/18. Another KO/TKO is 2/9.