TRAINER Tony Borg has no doubts that Fred Evans can bounce back from a first professional defeat, but the Olympic silver medallist must “pull his finger out and get his act together”.

Evans lost his unbeaten record at the Newport Centre late last month, slipping to a second-round stoppage against hard-hitting Englishman Ryan Toms.

As well as suffering a maiden reverse in the paid code, the 27-year-old was also floored for the first time in his career – Toms put him the Welshman on the canvas twice in round two.

The setback for the St Joseph’s ace came after five successive points victories following his pro debut in May 2017, five years on from a run to the welterweight final at the London Olympics in 2012.

But while the loss to Toms would have dented Evans’ pride, Borg has been quick to point out that some of boxing’s best recovered from defeats early in their pro careers.

American Bernard Hopkins, who was winning world title fights in his late 40s, lost on his debut more than 30 years ago before going to become one of the all-time greats.

A lot closer to home, Evans’ St Joes stablemate Lee Selby was beaten on his fifth professional outing – he went on to claim world honours six years later.

“I was shocked with Fred’s performance, but these things happen in boxing and lots of champions lose on the way up,” said Borg.

“Fred lost and now it’s up to him to come back from it much stronger – Amir Khan was knocked spark out and later came back from it.

“Fred wants to pull his finger out and get his act together. He prepared for weeks and weeks and had lots of time to get ready.

“I’m thinking he must have been a bit rundown. As we got closer to the fight there were one or two sessions where he wasn’t feeling well.

“He probably should have said he wasn’t going to fight, I’d rather a boxer not fight if they aren’t well.”

He added: “He was down after the fight. If he really wants to, Fred can come back from this.

“He’s got the ability to turn this around.”

Meanwhile, Borg will be back in the corner next Saturday when Lance Cooksey goes for an eighth straight win at the Llandarcy Academy of Sport near Neath.

Lightweight Cooksey faces Sunderland native Jordan Ellison in a six-rounder on the British Warriors Boxing Promotions show.

Ellison (10-18), 23, has lost his last three contests, a run which included the second of two defeats to Gavin Rees-trained Craig Evans.

Also appearing in Llandarcy is Newport’s former Welsh lightweight champion Craig Woodruff, who hasn’t fought since July 2014.

The 26-year-old (5-4) known as ‘Smiler’ locks horns with Melksham’s Liam Richards, a man desperate to end a 42-fight losing streak.