Glynn Evans catches up with the 33 year old Welsh hardcase who has the dubious honour of sharing a ring for 30 minutes or less with unbeaten heavyweight sensation Daniel Dubois at The Copper Box on Saturday.
You were a late entrant to the sport…..
That’s right. I was already 23 when I started my amateur career at Mountain Ash (ABC). I just wanted to focus my anger and stay out of trouble really. Before boxing, I played team sports like football and rugby but they tended to involve a lot of drinking and I’d end up fighting in pubs.
I had just 11 amateur contests and only one man – Andrew Wyn Jones – beat me (twice). I gained my revenge in the Welsh ABA final then turned professional immediately after. There were no other heavyweights in Wales to box.
What were your aspirations when you finally joined the profession, aged 27, in 2011?
I’m a civil engineer by trade and boxing is just my hobby. Turning pro my ambition was simply to keep off the beer. I knew I wasn’t going to be a world beater, I just like fighting. I’m a naturally tough kid who’ll always come and have a go.
After six straight wins, you were tossed in against the likes of Ian Lewison (lrsc4), Hughie Fury (lpts6), Anthony Joshua (lrsc2) and ‘Fast Eddie’ Chambers (lrsc3). The last three have all operated at world level. Brave management?!
To be fair, I asked for those matches. Small hall boxing is all about selling tickets and that became increasingly hard work when I was matched with obscure imports with losing records. After winning my first six, I thought I was indestructible. But it was too early.
I soon realised boxing was about levels. I’m not deluded. I know I’m a stepping stone. I’ve beaten the likes of David Howe and Tom Little, drawn with DL Jones (8-0) but, while I always come to win, if you’re going to win big titles, you’re going to beat me.
I wouldn’t say the AJ defeat was painful. He just landed a big left hook to the temple that took away my senses. I didn’t know much about it. I was more hurt against the likes of Ian Lewison and Eddie Chambers when I took constant beatings.
Still, it’s something special to say I shared the ring with the heavyweight champion of the world. I believe I’m still the only one he never dropped.
Dubois has demolished all five pro opponents inside two rounds since debuting in April. What’s your assessment of him?
I’m an avid boxing fan, a BoxNation subscriber ,so I know all about Mr Dubois. He’s a huge lump, a good talent and my whiskers are sure to be tested.
We expect Dubois will try to do a job on me, try to make a statement by getting rid of me quicker that AJ did. We’re prepared for that.
‘Dynamite’ Dan is 6ft 5in tall, 17 stone and chiselled from black marble. Surely, that’s intimidating?
I’ve beaten David Howe and Tom Little, who like Dubois, are much taller than me so I don’t think size will be an issue.
After all my street fights, I don’t get nervous going into a boxing ring where at least the other fella has gloves on!
Dubois appears to hold an edge in size and raw power. Where do you hold sway?
Look, I’m 13 years older, I’ve boxed about 65 more pro rounds and whereas I’ve completed eight rounds once and six rounds three times, Dubois hasn’t been past five MINUTES.
I won’t run away – that’s not what I do – but who knows how he’ll hold up if I get into round four. Ten rounds is a long time. I’m a 17stone man and, if he misses with a wild shot and I counter right on the button, who knows what might happen. He’s not been hit back yet.
Previously against the top kids, I could make them miss but couldn’t make them pay. I’m better now, more experienced. Dubois will be made to pay for mistakes.
What gives you confidence that you could execute a spot of giant killing?
I’ve had six weeks’ notice which is very rare for me. I’ve made sacrifices so I’m really looking forward to a can of Strongbow afterwards.
I’m fit, I can take a shot and I always come and have a go. I’m on a run of good form (just one lose in his last six). I’ve had some great sparring with (British cruiserweight challenger) Craig Kennedy.
My motivation is high. It’s always nice to perform to a big crowd and if I beat Dubois, I’m sure that they’ll stick us straight into a rematch…..for a good few quid more!