Dale Evans returns to the ring and pays tribute to Mike Towell

Dale Evans returns to the ring and pays tribute to Mike Towell

By Dewi Powell: After an extended break, St Clears’ Dale Evans (13-3-2, 4KO) returned to the ring with shutout four round win over veteran journeyman Kevin McCauley (13-141-11).

The physical task in hand was a routine run-out for Evans, who banked all four rounds on the undercard of Welsh Fight Academy’s debut show. However, the mental significance of Big Boy’s comeback at the Brangwyn Hall in Swansea was much more substantial.

It has been eight months since Evans’ fifth round stoppage win against Scotland’s Mike Towell. Tragically, Towell didn’t recover and passed away a day after the British title final eliminator. In a touching tribute, the waistband of Evans’ shorts was decorated with a St Andrews cross that spelt our the warrior’s ‘Iron Mike’ nickname.

Reflecting on last night’s occasion, Evans said: “Of course, it was on my mind. It will always be on my mind but it’s one of them things, I’ve got to get on with it and do it for Mike.

“The dream of Mike was to win the British title, the same as mine. I’ve kept in contact with the family, we speak now and again. It’s always going to be with me and with it being on my shorts, it feels like Mike’s with me. It’s going to be on my shorts for the rest of my boxing days.”

This week, the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) confirmed that the winner of Bradley Skeete’s British title defence with Shayne Singleton will have to defend the belt against Evans by September. It’s welcome clarification following a confusing backlog in the domestic welterweight division.

25-year-old Evans said: “I’m over the moon. I’m one of these people who always thinks of the worst case scenario, so I’m waiting for an excuse why it won’t happen in September. I’m not saying Bradley will avoid me but something could pop up. I don’t know if Bradley will move on but whoever is in front of me, I will be ready. I honestly don’t care who it is.

“After the tragedy that happened in September, I have this hunger and motivation, it’s inside me and needs to be released in the ring. I can’t wait to fight for the British title because I know I’m a different person now.”

Evans and McCauley met four years ago and since then, the Englishman has lost over 100 fights. It’s not an impressive statistic but it betrays his ability as he fulfills a pivotal role in the sport, often educating up-and-comers by frequenting away corners all over the country.

The main source of Evans’ output against McCauley was his jab, which was doubled and tripled as he attempted to catch up with the visitor, who wheeled away to the outskirts of the canvas when given the opportunity. When Evans did track him down, he would get three or four punch combinations off before McCauley tied his limbs up and forced the referee to intervene.

Despite a relatively low knockout percentage, Evans hits hard and it was evident in the third round as he was encouraged forward by new trainer Tony Borg. A strong two-fisted attack caused McCauley to squeeze up and survive. Evans was encouraged, doing it again before the bell sounded.

The two briefly took turns to wrestle in the closing round but it was Evans who produced the sharper shooting, picking away with the jab before rolling in to range to land sickening left hooks to the body and round off a routine win.

Assessing his performance, Evans said: “I did feel a little rusty but the whole plan was just to enjoy myself, work off the jab and stay sharp. The main instruction was not to get hurt or injured because I’ve had a few problems with my elbow. I didn’t get marked up and I won every round convincingly, I thought. It was nice to get in the ring and on a local show with a good crowd, too.

“When I fought him the first time, I was young and I didn’t really know much about the professional game. I tried to knock him out but these journeymen have been around, I think Kev’s had over 150 fights. They’re used to all of that, so if you can stop someone like him then it’s a big thing. I wasn’t going in there to stop him this time. If it came, it came but I just wanted the rounds.”

Only eight of Evans’ 18 professional bouts have taken place in his own country and he’s often been forced to get on the road, taking chances in away corners. Fighting relatively to home is a luxury for Evans, who was grateful for a strong support from locals.

He said: “It’s good to have a following. Boxing can be quiet in Wales, especially down west, where most of my family is from. It’s still 45 minutes or an hour for them. I sold a good amount of tickets tonight and I’m really grateful that they turned out. I hope I can get this following when I fight further afield for the British title and I’m sure I will.”

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