News June 2017

Dale Evans "I'll test Skeete's chin and win British title for Mike Towell"


By Michael J Jones

IN JUST NINE DAYS time the reigning British welterweight champion Bradley Skeete will defend his domestic title against rugged Welshman Dale Evans at the Copper Box Arena, London. In-form ruler Skeete is in the form of his life after notable victories against John Thain and Shayne Singleton. At 29-years-old the 6'1” Penge stylist is arguably in his fighting prime though only a fool would dismiss the potential threat his next challenger will bring on July 8th.

One thing is in Evans' favour which is different from the usual order of play for much of his eighteen pro bouts...

“We've had four weeks notice for this fight which is a change from sometimes mere days” Dale Evans tells Livefight a few days ago. “For the first time in my career I now have a full-time sponsor in Castle Scaffolding Wales so I can be a full-time pro and not have to train and sell tickets around long hours in work.”

Speaking to the stocky Welsh puncher for a while it's quite unbelievable the level he's been competing at when considering the notice he's received while trying to hold down a day job. When facing formidable Sam Eggington two years ago for example, Evans had just ten days notice to face a dangerous fighter who was then British and Commonwealth champion.

After besting the under-trained Evans by decision, Eggington would then surrender his belts to Skeete via points decision. Evans also holds an early decision victory over “The Savage” when the two young fighters competed in a Prizefighter tournament four years ago.

Does the 13-3-2 (4) Welshman take anything away from the contests he and Skeete have shared with Eggington approaching his British title bid?

“Sam Eggington is a tough, tough customer with a hell of a chin” comments the 26 year old of his great rival. “For our rematch he had a twelve week camp and I had to cram my training into ten days. I had to do it as you I couldn't turn down the opportunity but it obviously affected my performance.”

“When Sam fought Skeete I just thought he boxed the wrong fight. He kept coming in to attack in straight lines and you can't afford to do that against someone rangy like Skeete. When Eggington fought Frankie Gavin who was a slick boxer like Skeete, his tactics were perfect and he won the fight comfortably.”

The St Clears fighter also reveals there has been some colourful exchanges on social media ahead of his clash with Skeete between the respective fans of the pugilists.

“Bradley Skeete is tall and rangy but he's no big KO artist like his fans have been saying on Twitter. My fans were defending my chances and then his fans were saying they were making me out to be Golovkin! I'm not blowing my own trumpet but I'm an underrated puncher many people have made the mistake of looking at my record (just four wins inside in eighteen bouts), but I rank myself as one of the biggest punchers in the division.”

“He's a tall lad at the weight (at 6'1” the champion is half-a-foot taller), but I spar middleweights and light-middleweights all the time and they are always shocked when I get through with a good shot. People say about his skills but I spar (gym-mate and current IBF featherweight champion) Lee Selby and he is more skilful and faster than Skeete is.”

“With Skeete he's a good fighter don't get me wrong and I know few will ever have an easy night with him but I feel he's underestimating me. I also don't think he's been in with many punchers like me and his chin hasn't really been tested like I'll be testing it.”

“I don't believe he realises I'll be his toughest test to date.”

Evans turned pro in October 2011 and was unbeaten in his first five (one draw) when entered in Prizefighter. He would best Eggington in his first contest before out-scoring the far-more experienced Mark Thompson in his semi-final bout. The spoils would eventually go to Glenn Foot by a split decision though Evans left Wolverhampton that night with his reputation raised considerably.

Since then the Welsh fighter has not been as active as he would have liked but has beaten men such as Erick Ochieng, former British challenger Adil Anwar and the ill-fated Mike Towell last September. After scoring a stoppage in five rounds, Towell would pass away 24 hours after his thirteenth fight. He was just 25-years-old.

“It's big motivation for me to win the British title in Mike's memory” Evans tells Livefight. “That was the lowest time of my life after Mike died and it was his friends and family and my own that got me through it. Its played on my mind afterwards that it could have been me who died and Mike fighting Skeete for the British title next week.”

“I'm already very focused and driven to win the British title but doubly so to win it for Mike.”

“It's been the biggest frustration in my career that I've not been able to fight as often as I would have liked. I'd happily fight every month if I could but there's not too many shows in Wales and as soon as you go elsewhere to box it's a case of how many tickets you can sell.”

“It affects your motivation a lot as you could be getting ready for a fight date and it gets cancelled so it's harder to get back to training for the next one. I've been doing this since I was nine years old and only a boxer knows the huge sacrifice you have to make to do anything in boxing.”

“That's why I have to beat Skeete; I don't want to go back to the bottom of the ladder and have to start again.”

Is there any concern about facing the 29-1 (12) Londoner in London for the most important fight of his career for the Tony Borg-trained Evans?

“I've fought many times in the away corner and I know full-well if it's close he'll get the decision. If it happens that way it will be hard but I'll just have to accept it but I'm very confident it won't come to that.”

“Since my British eliminator ten months ago I've been in the gym waiting for my chance. With me being a full-time fighter now you'll get to see the best ever Dale Evans. I boxed Kevin McCauley last month in Swansea and it wasn't so much a warm-up but a test of the waters after my fight with Mike Towell.”

“I had to see how I'd cope with being in the ring again. We kept it simple and planned on getting my shots off and not getting hit in return and I won very comfortably. People like McCauley are very tough lads and make it awkward but, for me, it went really well and it was just what I needed.”

Finally I ask what is the best victory so far in Evans' career in his opinion?

“I'd say my win over Erick Ochieng” he replies after a short pause. “It was my first eight-rounder and shown on Sky Sports and he was a good opponent who had just boxed Liam Smith for the British title so he was a fairly big name at the time.”

“I ended up selling 200 tickets so everyone watched the Rugby at the Millennium stadium and then came over to watch my fight (at the Motorpoint Arena) so there was a good crowd and I boxed well to beat him on points live on Sky Sports.”

Dale Evans would like to thank his team, fans and sponsors for their continued support.

Sponsors; Castle Scaffolding, Tuf Treads Tyres & Auto, Tastebuddies meal prep, Holmes Contracting, Davies Cranes, Towy Vision, Mark Williams Carpets, Dicky Parry Service station Pembrokeshire, Pro Clean cleaning services and D12 Fitness.

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