9:20am Friday 6th July 2012
By Andrew Penman
JEFF Evans hasn’t given up hope of returning to the top table of boxing’s light-heavyweight division.
The Pontypool puncher is rebuilding his career after a devastating knockout defeat inside 15 seconds when he took on Ovill McKenzie for the Commonwealth title last November.
He admits he considered hanging up his gloves after that humbling live on Sky Sports TV but he returned to the ring in Liverpool at the end of April and was unfortunate to only draw with Matty Clarkson over six rounds.
And he is back in Wales this month as he defends his Welsh belt at the Newport Centre on Saturday, July 21, against home town favourite Justyn Hugh.
The 29-year-old says it was tough to pick himself up after the defeat to Jamaican McKenzie in Halifax.
“It was a big setback and it’s a fight a lot of fighters wouldn’t have taken at short notice but me being me I’ll fight anyone,” said Evans, who is trained by Gary Lockett.
“I don’t have any regrets – it was a great opportunity. Obviously I got caught cold and it was a disaster for me at the time.
“It wasn’t nice being knocked out but everyone knows he’s a world class puncher and it’s in the past now.
“I’ve got a great family and I work full-time so I have to train before work and after and I don’t get a break,” he added.
“It’s a hard old sport and I did think ‘do I want to carry on going?’ “But I decided to keep going because I love the sport. It’s not big money but I love competing. I love the buzz and the pressure.”
Evans says Lockett has convinced him that he still has a future in the sport.
“Gary is one of the main reasons I decided to carry on,” he explained. “He’s been there and done it all and you couldn’t ask for anyone better in your corner.
“If it was my time to finish he would tell me. I’d want him to and I’d listen. I wouldn’t keep going if I didn’t think I was good enough.
“But I’m still ambitious. If the opportunity comes my way to get back up to that level I’ll take it in a heartbeat.
“But I take every fight as it comes and the first step is to beat Justyn.”
The fight is on the undercard of Gary Buckland’s showdown with Albanian Ibrar Riyaz in the Steve Sims Promotions Return of the Welsh Warriors show.
Also on the bill is St Joseph’s super-middleweight Frankie Borg against Danny Butler for the British Masters title.
Tickets are available from Evans on 07891 481358.
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