Preview: Welsh Fight Academy to kick off new venture in Swansea

Preview: Welsh Fight Academy to kick off new venture in Swansea

This Saturday will see the debut show of Welsh Fight Academy, the new outfit of promoter Mo Prior, at the Brangwyn Hall in Swansea.

St Clears’ Dale Evans (12-3-2, 4KO) will return to the ring after a near eight-month spell of inactivity. He’ll get going against Kevin McCauley (13-140-11), who’s had over 100 more fights since they met in 2012. It was a routine outing for the Welshman, who swept all four rounds and is expected to repeat the feat second time around.

It will be the first outing ‘Big Boy’ has had under the guidance of St Joseph’s Boxing Club’s head coach Tony Borg. Evans hasn’t fought since a fifth round stoppage victory against Scotland’s Mike Towell, who tragically passed away a day later. In a touching tribute, the waistband of Evans’ shorts will be decorated with the words ‘Iron Mike’ backed on to a St Andrew’s cross.

Following that British title eliminator, Evans had been scheduled to meet Tony Dixon for the Welsh title. However, he was ruled out by an elbow injury. Still, Evans has retained his status as Mandatory Challenger for the British title currently held by Penge’s Bradley Skeete and is likely to contest the belt towards the end of the year.

Swansea’s Chris Jenkins (16-2-1, 8KO) hasn’t performed in his home country for almost three years. A lot has changed since then. The super-lightweight has suffered a draw and two narrow defeats, now linking up with new trainer Gary Lockett in a move to regain momentum.

28-year-old Jenkins takes on Plymouth’s Chris Adaway (6-28-4) in a scheduled six rounder. The self-styled ‘Rock n Rolla’ is capable of scoring a knockout of Adaway, who has been halted at super-featherweight in the past and it could come courtesy of Jenkins’ left hook to the body.

Pontyberem’s Zack Davies (7-1, 2KO), who trains alongside Jenkins at the U-Fit gym in Cardiff, is also set for six rounds. The lightweight’s opponent, Lee Connelly (6-23-2), recently visited Wales and enjoyed a war with Bridgend’s Richie Canning, being edged out of a competitive points decision.

25-year-old Davies looked explosive in his last outing, putting the game Ismail Anwar away in two rounds. However, the 2014 Commonwealth Games representative is likely to be extended to the final bell against Connelly, who is renown for his durability.

Swansea’s James Lilley (7-6, 2KO) is another overcoming inactivity. The super-welterweight was last seen in a gutsy challenge to Welsh champion Barrie Jones, eventually wilting after six sessions. That was 17 months ago but ‘Lights Out’ shouldn’t have any rust having remained fit in other sports.

He will face Kent’s Sonny Whiting (5-16-2, 2KO) in the Englishman’s seventh fight of 2017. The last one ended in a No Contest following a double disqualification, so Lilley will be wise to keep his wits about him for the full duration their four rounder.

Another local in the same weight division, Mano ‘Lightening’ Lee (2-2), aims to bounce back following consecutive decision losses to the wily road veteran William Warburton. The southpaw is up against Nicaragua’s Geiboord Omier (3-17-1, 2KO) and should get back to winning ways, especially as the visitor hasn’t won in his last 16 attempts.

Pontypool’s Kieran Gething (0-1-1); another super-welterweight and Llanelli based Pole Robert Studzinski (3-35, 2KO) will get their turns in the home corner after their fair share of appearances on away soil. Italy’s Victor Edagha (0-18) and Telford’s Kieron Gray (8-63-2, 1KO) stand in their way.

Pontypridd’s super-lightweight Lance Cooksey and the Afan Valley’s middleweight Geraint Goodridge will make their professional debuts against Michael Mooney (8-29, 3KO) and Jacob Lucas (0-7), respectively.

The pair come to the paid code with contrasting backgrounds; Cooksey having won Welsh senior titles and competed at an international level, whilst Goodridge started on the White Collar scene.

It’s not unfair to note that the show could do with a 50/50 match up or a title fight to headline it and the away corner might not be the most ambitious. However, it’s a start and without the backing of a broadcaster’s budget, it’s the most that can realistically be expected.

Welsh Fight Academy is a welcome addition to a scene starved of many promoters and they deserve to be given a chance, which the public are doing. The show is nearly sold out with few tickets remaining, so be quick.

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