This time last year, St Clears’ Dale Evans (7-1-1, 3KO) burst on to the scene by reaching the finals of Prizefighter on Sky Sports screens but he feels that too much partying led to his momentum slipping and he’s determined to regain it next Saturday.

The Welsh welterweight will face Eric Ochieng (14-2, 4KO), who is moving down from light-middleweight after an unsuccessful British title challenge, on the undercard of Matchroom Sport’s ‘Reloaded’ show at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena.

Reflecting on the last year, Evans said, “I was over the moon with Prizefighter, I got to the final and obviously people know who I am a lot more from Prizefighter than before it. That’s what it was all about but the inactivity was down to myself.

“I was more concerned about going out on the beer every single weekend for a couple of months. I had a bit of extra money which I’d never had before but the lesson has been learned now. I had a bit of a bad performance back in June, that didn’t go to well and I haven’t fought since because the original Ochieng fight didn’t come off.

“My head has been right now though, I’ve stopped the partying and got back in the gym.”

The cancelled fight with Ochieng that Evans speaks of happened in December. Due to a jam packed schedule, the bout would have started at 1:00am and when given the option, Ochieng chose not to fight. The bout was swiftly rearranged, all parties were still paid and free tickets to Reloaded were provided for the travelling fans but Evans still speaks with a lot of sympathy for the fans who made the 400 mile round trip.

He said, “I would have never, ever done that to my supporters. They’re my family and friends, I’d never do that to them but I didn’t have a say. I’d said I’d wait until whatever time we can fight but it was out of my hands, it was his choice.

“I was more gutted for everyone who traveled up. They were on a bus for six hours, they got to the venue and watched every single fight and then I had to go out and tell them I wasn’t fighting. The look on their faces made me feel terrible, I was more gutted for them than myself.”

Evans is trained out of Gary Lockett’s gym based in Cardiff Bay and Lockett recognises that it’s a step up for Evans but he’s more than confident that it’s a fight the Welshman can win.

Lockett said, “Let me tell you, if Dale Evans catches Eric Ochieng with half a shot then the fight will be over. He’s fit as a fiddle, he’s been in the gym three times a week with me and he’s training back with his old amateur coach Graham Brockway as well.

“I think he’s more than ready and he’s going to be really up for it. I think if you put him in a fight against a journeyman then he doesn’t really get up for it but put him in a fight like this, like you seen in Prizefighter, I think he’s going to produce the goods against Eric Ocheing and really make a name for himself.”

22-year-old Evans, a rangy and attack minded power puncher, is almost the exact opposite of Ochieng who is a neat counter-puncher that produces his best work on the inside and Evans knows what to expect on fight night.

He said, “I don’t expect him to come and mix it. I’m not sure if he’s done his research but I can bang a bit, so I can’t imagine him meeting me in the middle of the ring. It would suit me better but I’m also dangerous going forward which is what he’s used to.

“As a fighter, I don’t think he’s very good, I think he’s more flash than anything else. He’s good at what he does, which is not getting hit, but he doesn’t seem to come back with much. I’m going to be too busy for him. “As long as I put in a hundred percent then I’m not worried. I’m going to figure out his weaknesses in the first round.”

One benefit of the bout being re-arranged for February 1st is that it gives Evans the home advantage and it’s something he believes will benefit him.

He said, “Obviously he’s one of Eddie Hearn’s (Managing Director of Matchroom Sport) boys but the main thing is, I’ve sold a lot of tickets and with the crowd behind me, it’ll raise my performance.

“It’s really nice to get a fight at home because not everyone can come to the long journeys to London, Wolverhampton and Bolton like I’ve had.”

Aside from home advantage, Evans has his fair share of issues outside of the ring, one of which is his day job and the other is an on-going nose impairment, but he’s happy enough to get on with it.

He described the situations saying, “It’s been tough as I’m back in work. I’ve had to put the hours in because they can’t give me the time off. They’ve been a bit flexible and let me off for the odd hour, so I can travel up here to get a spar in or turn up an hour late so I can get my runs done in the morning. It’s been a lot tougher than last time when I had three weeks off but I’m getting through it and I feel fit and strong.

“It clogs up every now and again, my nose is quite straight and my air passages are blocked but I’m probably not the only boxer with nose problems. I’ve been to have it looked at to have it operated on but they said it’s just going to go again. I’m fighting through it, digging deep and going through it.”

Tickets for ‘Reloaded’ Selby v Munroe are on sale now priced at £30, £40, £60 ringside and £120 VIP are available from livenation.co.uk or by calling 02920 22 44 88.

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