Craig Evans eager to end inactivity and winless run
Blackwood’s Craig Evans (14-1-2, 3KO) is eager to get the winning feeling again after enduring a three-fight winless run.
The 26-year-old has dropped a decision loss and two draws in his last trio of outings and hasn’t had his hand raised in victory for 17 months.
Evans said: ““Come Saturday, I’ll get a win hopefully and then it’ll be nice to know what’s going on and what they’ve got for me next.
“I’m not one to call anyone out or anything like that because I’ve not got a big mouth. I just want to get in there and win.”
Evans will appear on the undercard of Frank Warren’s show at the Ice Arena Wales on Saturday against County Durham’s Jordan Ellison (5-6, 1KO) in an eight round fight. Despite owning a negative record, the southpaw is full of respect of the visitor’s threat.
He said: “I can’t look past the boy I’m fighting. He’s beat a couple of prospects who were 7-0 and 6-0. I’m not looking past him but I’m confident of winning.
“Whoever I fight, I’m happy to fight. I’m not one to pick my opponents, you’ve got to fight whose put in front of you and I’ll fight anyone, so I respect the boy I’ve got.”
After being edged out of a competitive scrap with Scott Cardle for the Lord Lonsdale belt, Evans then engaged in two Fight of the Year contender’s against 2012 Team GB Olympic captain Tom Stalker. However, his only rewards for both of those close contests were Split Decision draws.
Reflecting on the experience, Evans said: “I know against Cardle I started too slow. With Stalker, I took for granted and thought I lost [the first fight] but I definitely won the rematch. They gave us a draw again and that’s life.”
Evans believes that he would be best at super-featherweight after attempts to win the British and WBO European lightweight belts backfired. However, he admits that opportunities are more forthcoming five pounds north at 135lbs.
He said: “I had my first 14 wins at super-featherweight [130lbs] before I lost to Cardle. I’ve never lost at super-featherweight but it’s very hard to get any fights down there. When I fight at lightweight, even though I make it too comfortable, I can get the fights there. I’ve just bought my own house and I need the bread and butter now to keep my house going.
“I’m at lightweight this weekend, I’ve got to be nine stone 11 pounds [137lbs], two pounds over [lightweight championship limit] because it’s only an eight rounder. At the end of the day, if the fight is available, I’ll fight anywhere. I’m not fussy or anything like that, I just like to know where I’m fighting, who and when.
“If I’m going to move back down to super-featherweight, I’d like to know a bit in advance to get my weight down. That’s all.”
The St Joseph’s Boxing Club member hasn’t fought for seven months and is eager to make the second half of 2016 more memorable than the first half. Evans, who is trained by Tony Borg, has been ready to be let off the leash all year and he’s had to tackle the challenge of training for a sustained period of time whilst staying fresh, too.
He said: “I was meant to be fighting in May and then it was supposed to be June and now we’re in July. I’ve just been pushed back because we’re waiting on opponents. I’ve been ticking over but this fight feels like I’ve been training forever.
“I’ve stayed sharp, my weight is great. I woke up this morning [14 July] bang on the weight and went for a little run so I can eat today and have some breakfast in the morning.
“I don’t mind where I fight, as long as they keep me active. All I need to be is active, have more fights. I haven’t fought since December, it’s seven months and it’s a long time. It gets you down a bit.”
Evans would definitely be willing to stay at lightweight if it means he could complete a trilogy with Stalker to break their deadlock. It was planned in June but the Scouser declined and still fought for the WBO European bauble anyway. Portugal’s Antonio Joao Bento was drafted in and predictably went the distance to lose, leaving the aggrieved Evans on the sidelines.
He said: “If I come though on Saturday, I’m hoping to fight Stalker again. I’d like the third one with Stalker and then move down. I’m getting older now so I want to know what road I’m going down, like.
“I was booked to fight him on June 4th but he pulled out of my fight but still ended up fighting some guy for the same belt we were going to fight for, which I think is wrong after our last fight ended as a draw. That’s the way it goes, the way the cookie crumbles. He’s turned it down once already, so I don’t know if he’s going to accept it again.”
Like many of the boxers on Saturday’s show, it will be Evans first fight in Wales since out-pointing journeyman Youssef Al Hamidi nearly three years ago. In that time, Evans has fought up and down England, taking along a dedicated group of fans. Happy to give them a shorter trip this time, Evans is keen to repay their loyalty.
He said: “It’s been a great reaction from the fans. Welsh sport is doing great, especially after the football at the Euros. Lots of people went out there for that and now I can’t wait to put a show for them a bit closer to home. Hopefully we can bring more shows to Wales.
“It’s going to be full of fans. I know Dully [Liam Williams] has sold a lot of tickets and I sold all my tickets, what they sent me and I’ve got to pick more tickets up on Friday for other fans. We want to give the fans something to come back to.”
Norfolk’s Liam Walsh has recently vacated the British 130lb strap as he progresses towards a world title shot. Martin J Ward, of rival promoters Matchroom Sport, is next in line for a vacant title shot against Yorkshire puncher Andy Townend. Many of the domestic scene’s operators are at similar stages to their careers and Evans hopes to be involved.
He said: “There are loads of fights out there. I could have George Yupp for his WBO European belt but he’s turned it down. If not, there are two boys fighting for the British title who I’m up for fighting.
“All I want to do is fight for titles, I’ve won a lot of titles as an amateur and I just want to start doing it as a pro. We could all have some great fights together.”