Part Two: Dale Evans embraces underdog status as bookies give him slim chance of upsetting Skeete

Part Two: Dale Evans embraces underdog status as bookies give him slim chance of upsetting Skeete

St Clears’ Dale Evans (13-3-2, 4KO) is no stranger to having the odds stacked against him and ‘Big Boy’ is happily embracing the underdog tag as he targets his biggest upset yet.

The 25-year-old welterweight challenges Penge’s established domestic ruler Bradley ‘Super’ Skeete (26-1, 12KO) for the British title on Saturday, live on BT Sport and BoxNation at the CopperBox Arena in London.

Only eight of Evans’ 18 outings have taken place on home soil and he has often been disadvantaged by occupying the away corner. Nearly 70% of the Welshman’s opponents have owned a winning record, a remarkable stat in today’s modern age of stage managed matchmaking, though it hasn’t stopped him collecting the scalps of fellow title contenders like Eric Ochieng and Adil Anwar. For those reasons, many would be wary of Evans’ threat but not the bookmakers.

“No, not really… it doesn’t surprise me,” said Evans when questioned on his reaction to the gambling prices available to punters. “Bradley Skeete is champion for a reason.

“From reading certain things on social media and looking at the betting odds, I know I’m a massive underdog. I’m 9/1 on Sky Bet. When odds on the method of victory come out at the end of the week, I’ll probably have a few quid on myself.”

“I know it’s a cliche to say but I thrive off that, it’s something I’m used to dealing with. I honestly believe, the way preparation has gone and the way I’m feeling, I’m in great shape and feeling mentally fantastic, I can cause the upset on the weekend.”

After years learning his trade under the guidance of massively underrated trainer Al Smith, Skeete has shone in his most recent outings. Last year, he dethroned Sam Eggington and had since comfortably fended off challenges of John Thain and Shayne Singleton. The long levered champion, who stands over six foot tall, is now one win away from owning the historic Lord Lonsdale belt outright.

Observers are turning Skeete’s head towards global honours and he’s ranked in the top 15 of the WBO, WBC and IBF governing bodies. Bidding to become a world champion is high on anyone’s wish list but Evans feels those plans are premature and could work against the Englishman.

He said: “Before last weekend, they were talking about fighting Manny Pacquiao at the O2 Arena and now they’re talking Jeff Horn as he won [UD12], like.

“I genuinely think this is going to be Bradley Skeete’s toughest test yet. After the weekend’s results with Jeff Horn beating Manny Pacquiao, they’re talking about Jeff Horn but their toughest test will be on Saturday night first.”

“They’re obviously overlooking me because they’re speaking about that fight and they’ve got a job on Saturday night. It’s going to play in to my advantage, they’re not ready for what I’m going to bring.”

When Evans challenged for the British title in 2015, it came on short notice as a very late replacement. His effort was valiant, especially as he managed to drop the notably tough Sam Eggington early on, though it was ultimately undone by an understandable lack of training. By comparison, Evans views a month long camp for his second attempt to become champion as a luxury, even if many of his peers wouldn’t.

He said: “I had 10 days to fight Sam Eggington. I was relatively fit but only for a four or six rounder. Going in to them championship rounds not training for it is hard work.

“A few weeks ago, I had the call out from Bradley Skeete on the telly on the Friday night, that he wanted to fight on this bill and I was about to go out and celebrate someone’s birthday the following night. I said, ‘that’s it – I’m not going!’ just in case I had the call and a few days after, I had the call. I’ve stepped it up since then and four weeks was ideal for me.”

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