The Spartan Speaks "I Wanted a Challenge and Evans Brings One"
By Michael J Jones
AN ALL-WALES match of quality is a rarity these days in boxing but Welsh fight fans are in for a treat on April 22nd when Paul “The Spartan” Economides meets Holyhead's Mark Evans over six rounds on the Martin Murray-Gabriel Rosado bill in Liverpool.
The two Welsh warriors meet at featherweight and it promises to be a terrific fight between two front-foot sluggers who rarely take a backward step.
The 30 year old Economides has been making waves recently in the 122lb division. His only defeat in his last eight contests was a close, bloody, decision to undefeated Sean Davis for the WBC International title. Before that he had reeled off seven wins on the bounce with four coming by way of knock-out.
Although 35 now, Evans is a tough box-fighter who usually campaigns at super-featherweight. At 13-3-2 (1) is a former Welsh Area champion who is on a five-fight unbeaten run. Most will make “Little Marky” the slight underdog for the bout though he has been chomping at the bit for a fight like this for some time now.
Something really has to give in this intriguing battle between North Walians but it was the Chester boxer's own idea that Evans should be his opponent for April 22nd. Talking exclusively to Livefight.com a few days ago, he explains why.
“I always feel I fight better with the greater challenge in front of me. It's the same in fights and also in sparring. In my last fight with Sean Davis it was a real war and I really enjoyed it and I want more of those kinds of fights. This is why I was keen to fight Evans and not some kid who would just turn up to survive.”
“I sparred Mark a few years ago and he was a strong, all-action kid. People who are coming to watch boxing don't want to see a mismatch or a one-sided points fight. They want to see good fights and this is fifty-fifty. After my last fight I wanted another tough one and that's why it's me against Mark Evans.”
Six months ago, Economides boxed Davis in Birmingham over ten rounds. He received just five days notice for the clash after undefeated star Gamal Yafai pulled out with an injury. Despite the late call, Economides gave it everything and opinion was split after ten thrilling rounds though all three judges agreed unanimously at 96-94 for Davis.
“I boxed a Spaniard the week before and felt really sharp that night. I went for a Chinese meal after the fight and was tucking into a roast dinner the next day when I got the call for Davis. Obviously it wasn't the ideal scenario but I couldn't be sure I'd get a chance like it again so agreed. I had to lose a stone in that time though it mostly water-weight.”
“I loved every minute of the fight, it was a cracking fight, we were both fighting inside, both got cut as we were bumping heads...honestly I'd do it again now. It was a war, I love boxing and I relished every moment. Eddie Hearn put his score up on Twitter just before the announcement and had me two points up and that was as good as winning for me.”
“Because of the short notice I only had about nine fans there in the venue while Sean Davis is from (Birmingham) and had sold something like 600 tickets. By the end of the fight I couldn't hear his supporters as all I could hear was people shouting that I'd won. It was a tight fight but I didn't speak to anyone afterwards who had him winning.”
“His fight with Yafai has been rescheduled for May 13th so I'll be watching that with interest.”
“My fight with Evans is set for six rounds, I would have liked more but better six rounds against someone decent than not fighting or facing a lesser opponent. I've had a good camp as I've always known I was on this bill and can't wait for the fight now.”
Does the 20-6 (4) Paul believe he will have a significant advantage over Evans with his longer camp ahead of their contest?
“I don't think it will be that rough for him” Economides tells livefight. “He knew before his last fight we were interested, so after that he wouldn't have done anything silly like going on the ale or gorging on food. He would have gone straight back to the gym and kept his fitness.”
“I'm really looking forward to this fight and it's great to be back on a big show at the Echo Arena. I feel I'm on a roll now and I want to keep it going. I've had a taste now and I don't want to go back to facing journeymen in leisure centres.”
“I just want to thanks my manager Dave Coldwell and trainer Steve Goodwin plus all of my fans and supporters.”