Jack Rafferty is heavy-handed his days of being one of British boxing’s best kept secrets are over. Rafferty has been a professional since 2017 and has quietly gone about building an impressive unbeaten record. It is unusual for a heavy handed ticket seller to have flown under the radar for so long but the 27-year-old from Shaw is aiming to make Saturday night’s British junior welterweight title eliminator against Ben Fields the springboard to some major opportunities. 

Rafferty  (20-0, 11 KO’s) was initially scheduled to fight Central Area champion, Lee Appleyard, and when news of the Yorkshireman’s withdrawal broke there were worries that the fight would lose its status as an eliminator for the title currently held by Dalton Smith. But with Fields already in position for a shot at the English title and Rafferty more than ready for championship fights, the date was saved, an agreement reached and the winner will move an important step closer to the prized Lonsdale belt.

“I was over the moon when I heard,” Rafferty told BoxingScene.com. “What were the odds of still fighting a British lad and for it to still be such a big fight? I’m so happy Ben’s been picked and that the fight’s still a British title eliminator. Everything’s still on the line. I’ve been training hard for this so a change of opponent doesn’t mean anything.”

After spending weeks preparing for Appleyard, Fields will present a different set of problems. The former Midlands Area champion may have a patchy record but has accounted for a long list of unbeaten prospects who were either too inexperienced or physically unable to handle his pressure and workrate.

“Ben’s an upset king isn’t he?” Rafferty said. “Given what could come next after winning this fight, he wants that as much as I do. We both want that next stage so I know I’m gonna get a good version of him. He’s coming off a good win so he’ll be full of confidence. I’ve gotta be on my game.”

It is just over three years since the ‘Demolition Man’ raised a few eyebrows by asking renowned Manchester trainer, Steve Maylett, to add a little method to the madness. Maylett took Terry Flanagan all the way to the WBO lightweight title and is a self confessed perfectionist. Rafferty’s choice has proven to be a wise one, he has slowly but surely developed into a smarter more technical fighter whilst retaining the ability to finish a fight. Now, he has the perfect opportunity to show what he has learned. 

“I’m gelling with Steve really well and training and the camp have gone absolutely perfect,” Rafferty said. “I’m ready to get this out of the way and see what’s next. I’m not calling any names out but whoever I’ve gotta fight for that British title, that’s what I want.

“I think that [the aggression] will always be in my locker but that’s not boxing is it? It’s alright punching but there are punches coming back aren’t there? You’ve gotta be able to do something different. You have to have a few different styles and be able to change in a fight. Steve’s dragging different things out of me and I think they’re working. It’s nice punching and not being punched.”