CRAIG Evans is brimming with confidence ahead of tonight’s final eliminator for the British lightweight crown against the heavy-handed James Tennyson in Liverpool.

The WBO European champion from Blackwood is hoping to get another crack at the Lonsdale Belt after missing out on the title to Scott Cardle four-and-a-half years ago.

In Northern Ireland’s Tennyson (25-3), Evans meets a fighter known for his punching power – 21 of his 25 victories have come inside the distance.

However, 30-year-old Evans (20-2-2) believes that the longer the contest goes on, the greater the chance he has of coming out on top.

“He is a heavy-handed puncher who has 21 wins inside the distance, so the first aim is not to get hit,” said the Welshman.

“I’ll just go in there, feel him out, see how strong he is and then take it from there.

“The plan is to use my feet for the first couple of rounds and see what he’s like when he doesn’t get an early stoppage.

“The deeper into the fight I Can take him, the better it is for me because 12 rounds is a long time – he’s never gone that far before.

“He tries to take you out early on, but if he pushes for a stoppage and doesn’t get it, it will be interesting to see how he reacts.”

He added: “I went 12 rounds with Cardle a few years ago and I should have won that one.

“I started too slowly and then began thinking about the rounds in my head, and he won on points.

“But I’m confident of winning this one and then going for the British title.”

Evans’ fellow Welshman Joe Cordina holds the title but many are expecting him to vacate given that he is going for the WBA continental super-featherweight strap in Monte Carlo next weekend.

“I’m not too sure what is going to happen if I win this,” said Gavin Rees-trained Evans. “This is an eliminator for the British so hopefully I’d get a shot at that.

“I’ve heard that Joe Cordina is vacating. His next fight is at a lower weight and if that goes to plan for him then he will vacate.

“I’d be looking to have December off, get back in the gym in January and fight again in early March.”

Evans says his contract with promoter Frank Warren ends next October, so even if he didn’t get the win tonight, he would still like to box on until then to see what avenues are open to him.

Meanwhile, Tennyson, 26, says he has “no doubt” in his mind that he will emerge victorious in Liverpool.

Speaking to The Irish News, Tennyson said: “He’s (Evans) a really good fighter. He’s very classy, tricky and awkward, so I’m expecting a tough fight from him.

“He’s a very game fighter so it will be a tough night.

“It’s a massive fight. There’ll be a British title shot for the winner plus he’s ranked nine in the WBO, I’m 15 with them and 12 with the WBA, so the winner is going to shoot right up in the rankings.

“And there’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll win. I’ve put a serious amount of work into this camp.

“I basically had about three days off from my last camp, so I just picked up from where I left off.

“I’ve been sparring hard and I’ve put the work in so I’m ready. My confidence is sky-high coming in off the back of my last win.

“I’m just looking forward to getting out there now and getting the show on the road and the win.”

Tennyson has lost British featherweight and IBF world super-featherweight title fights in the past.