Sunderland's Thomas Essomba faces Swansea's Jay Harris in Commonwealth title defence

Thomas Essomba has been handed the first defence of his Commonwealth title.

Sunday, 15th January 2017, 7:32 pm
Updated Sunday, 15th January 2017, 7:36 pm
Thomas Essomba takes on Jay Harris at the York Hall on February 24

The Sunderland star will put his flyweight belt on the line in London against unbeaten Welshman Jay Harris at York Hall on Friday, February 24.

And it’s a chance for the 29-year-old to enjoy his moment in the spotlight with the intriguing clash being shown live on BoxNation.

Essomba has been kept waiting for his maiden defence after demolishing Sheffield’s Waleed Din in the 11th round to pick up the vacant title back in October 2015.

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He had been due to defend against Scotland’s Iain Butcher in Edinburgh in May, only for the Motherwell man to fail to make the weight.

A non-title bout still went ahead with Butcher inflicting Essomba’s first pro defeat in a close 10-round decision.

Essomba’s manager, Phil Jeffries, is thrilled his boxer now has a championship match and an appearance in the limelight.

“Thomas is the best flyweight out there,” said the Wearside fight figure.

“I’d back him against anyone, it’s great he has a major fight on TV and at a venue like the York Hall.”

Harris, trained by Gary Lockett, has made a flying start to life as a pro.

The 25-year-old, from Swansea, has won all nine of his contests, the last six all coming inside the distance.

“This lad Thomas is fighting is good,” added Jeffries.

“He could have won all nine by KO as far as I’m concerned, but he’s not fought anyone like Thomas before.”