Butler vs Harris Predictions: Flyweight triple crown contested at the crossroads

 | February 23 | 

4 mins read

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European and Commonwealth flyweight champion Connor Butler takes on perhaps the toughest task of his career this Saturday as he faces British titleist Jay Harris. The fight is a mighty step-up for Butler, who goes in with a former world title challenger for the first time. The reward is a triple-crown of domestic and continental titles and a chance to make noise in a division with a lot of domestic interest.

Butler vs Harris Odds

Sunny Edwards lost the IBF flyweight title to the irrepressible Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez in December but you have to think he’ll come again at the top level. Amateur standout Galal Yafai is 6-0 as a pro and already world-ranked. The 112-pound division holds a historic place in British boxing. 19 British world champions have reigned at the weight, more than in any other weight class. 

Butler will hope to make 20 his lucky number at some point in the near future. ‘Top Dog’ is going the right way about it, having lifted championships in each of his last two fights. The 26-year-old outpointed Craig Derbyshire to win the Commonwealth title last February. The man he beat that night is now the Commonwealth boss down at light flyweight. 

In his next bout, Butler outscored Matt Windle to raise the vacant European crown. Now he goes after Harris’ British title in what is likely to be his most difficult night’s work yet. Butler has only boxed three men with winning records in his 12 fights so far. Not an unusual ledger at this stage in a pro career, but Harris is on another level entirely.

A 2019 knockout of two-time Olympic bronze medalist Paddy Barnes put Harris on the map. The Irishman had competed for world honours in the pros and a win over him was a huge coup for Harris. This sealed a shot against WBC flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez. Harris fought his heart out and gave the gifted ‘El Rey’ a tough test, before succumbing to a unanimous decision defeat. The world title dream wasn’t to be, but Harris had proved he belonged in big fights.

Unfortunately for the 33-year-old, world-ranked Ricardo Sandoval would bring him crashing down to earth. ‘El Nino’ knocked him out in eight rounds in 2021, decisively putting the buffers on Harris’ world title aspirations. A loss to Hector Flores followed and Harris found himself back at square one. 

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But the Swansea man has buckled down and put a couple of wins together. First came a solid four-round TKO of Alejandro Torres. Then Harris added a championship to his mantle, stopping Tommy Frank in ten rounds to win the British flyweight title last May. At the age of 33, world titles may be beyond him at this stage. But facing Butler gives Harris the opportunity to regain his old Commonwealth title and add the prestigious European belt to his collection.

This is a classic crossroads match-up. An up-and-comer taking on the biggest name he has fought. Said big name perhaps entering the final act of a storied career. Butler is looking to use this trio of championships as a stepping-stone to world honours. Harris knows all about that world, but has perhaps acknowledged that unifying the three regional straps can represent a different kind of career pinnacle. It’s a great piece of matchmaking. Both men will feel they not only can win, but that they have to. The fans are in for a treat.

As for who will win? It’s a close one to call. Butler has never taken a dip in waters this deep before. Harris may not have gone all the way at world level, but Martinez remains one of the best on the planet and the Welshman gave him a tough night. But he’s taken some damage since then and, at 33, you feel like that British title might have been his Indian summer. I’m going for the underdog here, Connor Butler, to retain his belts and add the British crown via decision at 9/4. Harris has the experience edge but I can’t shake the feeling of a changing of the flyweight guard.

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