By Owen Morgan
Swansea’s Jay Harris is hoping for a world title eliminator following a brilliant display against two-time Olympic bronze medallist Paddy Barnes in Belfast.
Unbeaten Harris stopped Barnes in the fourth round on Friday night to claim the IBF Intercontinental flyweight title thanks to some savage body shots.
Barnes showed incredible bravery during three bloody and all-action opening rounds, even inflicting a cut above his opponent’s right eye.
But the damage being dealt out by Harris, including a third round knock-down, eventually took its toll in the fourth.
The Welshman, cheered on by his faithful travelling fans at a raucous and partisan Ulster Hall, caught the home boxer with another ferocious body shot which sent Barnes to the canvas before taking the full 10 count.
Harris, who already held the Commonwealth and EBU titles, said after the fight: “I’m ecstatic. I thought my performance was really good and I’m on top of the world.
“We knew it would be a loud atmosphere and I had goosebumps as soon as I walked out.
“It was phenomenal. I’m chuffed with myself and now we’ll see what happens next year.
“I’ve got a mandatory for the EBU and he’s ranked above me in the IBF so potentially they could make that a world title eliminator. We’ll see what happens next year and maybe we can get that fight.
Barnes said of the Welsh boxer, who has now extended his unbeaten record to 17 fights: “He hit me with a good shot to the body and I couldn’t get up.
“The first body shot hurt me and I went down, but the second one took me around 12 seconds to recover.”