Craig Evans enters Saturday’s Celtic crunch fight against Dublin hard case Stephen Ormond in the hope that a sizzling showing could propel him into a world title shot.
The skilful southpaw is listed ninth in the WBO lightweight rankings and, with champion Terry Flanagan also on the Frank Warren roster, an Anglo-Welsh showdown would be simple to secure, if the 27 year old from Blackwood delivers before the BoxNation cameras at the Belfast Waterfront this weekend.
‘I dream of a crack at ‘Turbo’,’ says the Newport-born former European schoolboy medallist who has lost just once in a pro career that spans seven years and 19 fights.
‘We’ve sparred loads of good rounds and Terry knows what I’m about, knows I’d give him a competitive fight. Yes, Terry’s very strong physically but anything could happen on the night. He didn’t look his best against the last southpaw he faced (Puerto Rico’s Orlando Cruz). I’m confident I can beat anyone if I show my best on the day.
‘Anyway, Terry’s been talking about moving up so the WBO title could become vacant and a convincing win over Ormond would position me very nicely. I’m finally in sniffing distance of the major titles and big money. I can’t afford any backward steps.’
All-action Evans doesn’t underestimate the scale of the challenge that awaits him on Saturday. Foe Ormond, appropriately dubbed ‘The Rock’, was once a triple All-Ireland amateur champion and has conceded just three times in a 27 fight pro innings conducted in stiff company.
‘Ormond is probably the best I’ve faced as a pro,’ concedes 5ft 8in Craig who famously lasted the course with Vasyl Lomachenko in the 2009 World Seniors in Milan.
‘He’s very aggressive and experienced, brings a good engine. He holds a great win over Derry Mathews and, though he’s 34, Stephen’s still got something. He should bring out the best in me.
‘But his strength won’t be a huge issue. It’s true I could probably still make 130lbs for a good title fight, given proper notice but I feel nice at lightweight. I can eat good. I spar light-welters and none have proved too strong. You can always find ways around strength.
‘I know what I have to do to win. I need to be smart, find my distance, keep him off my chest. Ormond only knows one way. I’ll wind him up and he’ll throw the head in. He’s got history.
‘If I deliver on the night, I’ll beat him. A classy boxer will always beat an out and out fighter.
‘It might start a bit hostile but they’re a knowledgeable crowd and I think they’ll appreciate my style. I’m confident I can turn them around. They’ll boo me in to the ring and cheer me out!’