Welshman Evans Unfazed at Spartan Opportunity
By Michael J Jones
IN THE FINAL week before his fight with Andy Harris, Holyhead's Mark Evans got word that he was close to landing a slot on the April 22nd Echo Arena bill in Liverpool. The Welshman kept his head and soundly beat Harris and just over a week later the mooted bout was confirmed.
Thus, Evans now meets Paul “The Spartan” Economides over six rounds in a mouth-watering all-Welsh clash on the show topped by Martin Murray vs Gabriel Rosado. For the 35 year old Evans it's a dream come true to take on an in-form, ranked fighter in a tasty-looking tear-up on a massive bill to be screened live by Sky Sports.
“I'm absolutely buzzing to be honest” Evans told Livefight just after the fight was confirmed. “It's exactly what I needed a good fight on a great bill. I've got huge respect for Economides but I'm not going to make up the numbers I really can't wait.”
Evans, currently 13-3-2 (1) since turning pro six years ago, faces Economides at 8st 13. Mark usually campaigns at super-featherweight while his April 22 opponent is a natural 122lb fighter though “Little Marky” has often spoken about dropping in weight.
“Him being usually a bit lighter than me works in my favour but this is the weight I should be fighting at to be fair. I've been as low as 9st 8oz so I've been near the weight before. It's a day-before weigh-in so it's a case of getting to the weight, stepping on the scales, refuelling and away we go. I feel really good and I'm ready to go.”
The Welsh boxer has always struggled to get the right fights at the correct time in his career. After being inactive for most of last year he'll now be boxing twice within a single month though it's far from a daunting challenge for him as he continues...
“I fought Andy Harris on March 18th in Buxton and won very well. He was tough and knew how to survive but I rocked him in every round and dropped him in the third. I thought it was going to be a knock-out for me but he took some great shots and survived to the end of the four rounds. It was good for me to get that win before this chance.”
Rival Economides lost several of his early fights (albeit to mostly decent fighters), but has turned his career around in recent years and has won seven of his last eight with four stoppages. He is a pressure fighter with a granite chin and a terrific left to the liver. The 20-6 (4) bruiser's only defeat in recent years was a close decision in a war against Sean Davis last October which many thought he won.
None of the above appears to faze Evans though as he is clearly relishing this opportunity.
“I sparred Paul a few years back and I've seen a few of his fights. He's a busy lad, strong and comes to fight but I've got a good idea what I need to do and how to box him. I think it will be an excellent clash of styles and be a really good, tough fight.”
“My last fight I didn't go out slugging, I boxed more and it worked out well. I've been working really hard in the gym and I feel it's starting to pay off in my fights. I may only have one knock-out in my career but I do hit hard and think I've dropped every opponent I've boxed barring the ones who beat me.”
Evans three defeats all occurred in a nightmare 2014 but he's undefeated since and has looked solid while biding his time for a more meaningful fight to come along. Although it's only a six-rounder, the 35 year old understands a winning performance against Economides could finally open some much-needed doors for him.
“I'm training as hard as ever for this. When they asked if I was interested it was a surprise but I said 'I’ll definitely have a bit of that'. He's been hitting harder of late but I spar welterweights regularly so I'm not too worried. Economides is going to come and have a go and I'll be ready. If I win this it could lead to a title shot or open other doors so believe me I'll be ready for whatever he brings.”
As Evans is based in Liverpool (making the lengthy journey to the Knowsley Vale Gym several times a week around work), it's been joked he could be the house fighter on the night as Economides boxes out of Chester.
“I'm certainly not the house fighter when I live 120 miles away” Mark laughs. “I'll fight anywhere* and I have to say the support I've always received has been phenomenal. Ever since the fight was announced I've had good luck messages from everyone and I'm really grateful to all of my supporters.”
*In six years and 18 contests, Evans sole fight in Wales was a points win over Simas Volosinas in Llandudno 15 months ago. He won his Welsh super-featherweight title against Chuck Jones in Blackpool in his 9th fight.
“I'd just like to thank my team, including my trainers Tom Welsh and Mark Mulv and manager Steve Wood, my sponsors; Clive Evans & Sons Home Improvements, General Building Contractors, Denise Evans Hairdressing, Valley Butchers, Lobster Pot, Osian Evans Roofing and Building Contractors and Ben Taylor Premier Developments UK.”
“Also a special thanks to my wife for putting up with my washing and all my whinging.”