“This boy is special; if he puts the time in the gym he will be heavyweight champion of the world one day. I have never seen anyone of his size move as fast as he does. He is Swansea’s answer to Muhammad Ali and can be a bigger star of Welsh sport than Gareth Bale.”

Five years later, a beaming and infectious smile breaks out across the face of Moses Jolly as I read out those words from his long-time coach David John.

Clearly, he too believes his own ability has left him well placed to reach for the stars.

"Everyone makes statements," he says. "My truth is I wish to be a world champion, an undisputed world champion one day. I wish to bring that to Wales because there's never been a Welsh heavyweight world champion. Tommy Farr almost had it, and I believe it can be done. I would love to do that.

"But the pressure is on the every day constant work. That pressure's needed. Just to remind you of where you're at, where you need to go.

"Pressure's a good thing."

As we settle into an hour-long chat at Jolly's gym in Swansea, it's about a week on from his victory over Jake Darnell, a win that's given him a 7-0 record and further cemented his status as one of British boxing's best kept secrets.

Many that have seen him in action believe it's only a matter of time before he starts to really seize the spotlight, and perhaps deliver Welsh boxing the heavyweight hero it's craved for so long.

And yet, despite towering over most mere mortals at 6ft 6in, Jolly isn't in the least bit intimidating.

He's polite, eloquent and eager to delve into the philosophical side of just about anything he considers, well, worth delving into. He seems just as interested in learning about what makes me tick, as telling his own story.

Bizarrely, he's also never been on a rollercoaster.

"I've just never had an opportunity," he laughs. "I suppose I'm depriving myself. I've just never had the chance."

Perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise. After all, fitting his various commitments into the day has proven a challenge on its own without squeezing in a trip to Alton Towers. Indeed, despite being so highly rated, boxing isn't quite paying the bills as of yet.

When not in the gym, Jolly still works as a roofer, a job he clearly throws himself into with as much passion as anything else.

"I enjoy roofing," he tells me. "I enjoy it in the aspect of fixing people's homes. Knowing that people can go to bed without getting drenched or getting mould. It's nice being able to repair something with my hands and then with boxing I'm destroying things!

"It's like alchemy. I'm breaking it down and rebuilding. I do enjoy it, though. I wouldn't mind getting out of it soon, but the only way that will happen is if boxing pays."

Plenty of Jolly's backers believe it will happen. Indeed, he's already rubbing shoulders with some big names. Just days after our rendezvous, he heads down to London to spar with WBA heavyweight champion Daniel Dubois. Experiences like that have clearly whet the appetite for success in his own right.

Two-time world champion Tim Witherspoon is another big name to have been impressed by his progress over the years, while manager Mickey Helliet recently said: “I will bet every penny I have that Moses will at least challenge for the British heavyweight title.”

Moses Jolly's day job is spent as a roofer

Winning fights is one thing. But it's the way Jolly secures his victories that's left so many in awe. So often he's delightfully glided around the ring, oozing with confidence and effortless grace.

The aggression and brutality is there, mind, but it's executed in a way that somehow feels deeply pondered and considered. Yet, at the same time, flashes past in the blink of an eye.

The results, so far at least, are effective and entertaining in equal measure.

"It's like when Bruce Lee said: 'Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own'. That's the mentality that I keep. You learn something, take it into your arsenal and then you learn how to add your character to it.

"It's just a play on things. It's like experimenting. Learning your craft. So many hours have to be invested into. It's about learning your own rhythms. Learning your own body patterns and then reforming it into a boxing sense.

"It's enjoyable for me as it reminds me of dancing. It's like you're stepping to your own beat. You create a beat and your opponent is like a dance partner. You have to listen to them as well.

"I suppose the only real difference is you're trying to knock them out!"

Dancing, and more specifically music, has been a hugely important influence on Jolly in the ring, and has also provided a valuable platform of escapism and expression. "I'm no Billy Elliott," he insists with a smile. "Just before I get involved in boxing, I was creating music.

"I'd be in the park with my friends. They'd be beatboxing and I'd be freestyling, or I'd be beatboxing and they'd be freestyling. But that was for our own enjoyment. Like I'd have a friend playing the guitar and he'd write down music, and I'd be freestyling. That was my hobby, and I found myself through that in a sense.

"It seems like whenever something seemed troublesome in life, I always had turned to music. I always had music in the background playing while I was younger. Different forms and varieties of music. Classical music was a big one. My mum used it to send us to sleep.

"It's nice to have that variety, and it feels like in boxing there's going to be an opponent that's going to throw a variety of punches at you and you have to learn how to deal with that.

"You have to dance it off. Act like you didn't get hit. Match the pain and keep going. It's a small ring. You can't run away so you've got to keep your rhythm going. You get hit with something you keep going. Just like in life, if you get hit with something you keep going. You see a barrier, climb over it, go round it, knock it down. Just keep going.

Moses Jolly has enjoyed an unbeaten start to his pro career and has been tipped for very big things

"But boxing's beautiful. I don't just see it as a business. I don't just see it as a sport. I see it as a way of life. As cliched as that may sound.

"A lot of kids get out of trouble because they get into boxing. So I think we still need boxing and still need certain martial arts to help kids that might feel like outcasts. Help them feel at home somewhere."

Jolly, who's of Jamaican and German heritage, knows all too well what it's like to be an outsider, and casually paints the picture of a challenging upbringing in Mayhill, an area that's produced some notorious headlines in recent years.

"When I was at school, I experienced racism and being an outsider at a very early age," Jolly remembers. "It's inexplicable when you're that age. The age of six, and you're experiencing that.

"Racial slurs, people hitting you for certain reasons. It's like, why? But eventually as you grow older, you start to understand that everyone has their own problems.

"People are just projecting their own angers. They were children themselves. They didn't understand what they were doing. It's probably their parents.

"Henceforth... my nickname, 'The Native'. It's about feeling like you belong somewhere, and also about respecting your culture and your community wherever you are.

"Even with my opponents. I always say a prayer before a fight, hoping that me and my opponent will make it out of the ring able-bodied, able-minded, and able to make it home to their family. When my opponent steps out the ring with me, I'm happy.

"I've always had faith in God, but I've never quite put it into any religion. I just don't want to convolute my ideas through anyone else. I try to show respect to everyone and their beliefs.

"I don't understand why we can't all get along and help build each other up."

As Jolly hit his teens, his apparent inability to cope with the challenges he faced started to manifest itself in increasingly negative ways. Aged 16, he was arrested for his role in a fight, and was forced to confront the reality of the potential path that lay ahead of him.

Boxing, he says, was his way out.

"It was a saviour," he says. "It was my way of redemption and salvation.

"I was hanging around certain friends that didn't really have a hold-back. It's as if they were looking for trouble, or they didn't really care if trouble would come their way. For me, it was more that if someone hit me, I wouldn't really be too eager to fight. But if someone hit my friend then it's different. So eventually I started boxing and stopped hanging around with those people, and there was no more trouble.

Moses Jolly hopes his next fight will be for the vacant Welsh Heavyweight title

"Going to the police station and seeing my mum so upset, I realised it wasn't the right way to go. The officers were always lovely and respectful. They were calm and they just said 'look, you're going down this route', and my dad went down that route and I just thought it was time to break the family curse. Try something constructive rather than destructive.

"My father lives up in the north of England and I don't really speak to him now.

"He wasn't really present with his children. You bring life into the world, you should be around that life and teach them how to be men.

"It's understandable because he probably had traumatic childhood experiences and he didn't really have a father. He grew up in a boarding home instead of having an everyday family life. But he ended up having three children and didn't really rise to the challenge, so my mum had to take on the role of father and mother. But it is what it is, and she did a great job.

"I was very young. I didn't really know how to deal with those traumas or those pains. I'm glad I did it at a younger age so I learn how to progress, and I had a load of beautiful people behind me to show love and compassion to me and help me understand myself."

Moses Jolly is making waves for his colourful personality as well as his exploits in the ring

Those experiences have helped stoke the fire that drives what's been an impressive pro record. But his career hasn't always been smooth. In fact, there's a chance it might have been extinguished before it even got started.

"My amateur career was a bit like a testing experience," he says. "I had my first two fights with my previous gym. The first gym I started with, and I didn't really have the right preparation for that in terms of training and such. They were very good people there, but it just wasn't the right prep for me.

"That may be on me in all fairness. So, I came to David John after my second loss. I took a couple of years off because my mental fortitude took a slip.

"I was questioning boxing and wondering if it was really right for me. I'd lost my first two fights having felt like I'd given it my all. It just didn't really seem as though I was that well invested. Then eventually I found David's gym. Came here and David had a different style of teaching. A different philosophy."

Now, having started to make waves here in Wales, Jolly has ambitions to conquer the world. But, for now, he's focusing on what's in front of him. Indeed, there's only one thing on his mind heading into 2024.

Moses Jolly has already sparred with the likes of Daniel Dubois (right)

"I want the Welsh title," he says, before I can even finish the question of what might come next.

"32 years it's been without a Welsh heavyweight champion. It's been vacant for 32 years, so it feels like it's time."

Chris Jacobs of Llanelli was the last man to claim a Welsh heavyweight title back in 1989, and it hasn't been contested since. Dorian Darch, who once stepped into the ring with Anthony Joshua, has been touted as a possible opponent, and was actually supposed to fight for it back in 2016 before stepping away from the sport. You can read more about his story here.

"I'd love to fight Dorian, because he's also said he wants to fight for that title. So it would be nice for him to have that opportunity and for me to have that opportunity. I think a lot of Wales would love that too. I think it would only do something productive and good for Welsh boxing."

Jolly would likely go toe-to-toe for the Welsh title on the moon if he had to, but should the fight materialise he has a couple of preferred venues in mind.

"I'd like it at Swansea Arena, or the stadium. But somewhere local in Wales. Whichever can fit the most people in!

"I hope it happens."

The next 12 months could potentially be pivotal, and in more ways than one.

"Maybe I'll have been on a rollercoaster too, and I can tell you what it's like," he giggles.

Then again. Become Welsh boxing's first heavyweight title holder for 32 years, and the only way is surely up.