Dale Evans

For Dale Evans, who challenges for Bradley Skeete’s British welterweight title at the Copper Box this Saturday night, it will be a particularly poignant occasion.

For it is only his second contest since the tragic night in Glasgow on September 26 last when his Scottish opponent Mike Powell tragically suffered the brain injuries that would take his life at 25.

It is a bittersweet moment for a fighter who has been dreaming of winning a British title since childhood, especially as Evans feels he is fighting not just for himself, but to honour Towell’s memory. ‘Iron Mike’s’ name will be emblazoned on his shorts.

Evans says not a day goes by when he does not think about Towell.

“You never stop thinking about it.” he says. “I wouldn’t say I’m over what happened, but it’s easier now that some time has passed.

“After it happened, I just locked myself away, eating rubbish, picturing a little boy without his daddy. I was numb. I was constantly questioning whether I wanted to continue boxing. It dawned that it could’ve been me.”

Evans attended Towell’s funeral and was embraced by the family and now they are ready to offer their support for the Welsh boxer’s title opportunity.

“The Towell family have been incredible. I’ve had some of Mike’s fans looking to buy tickets to come and support me and have I posted tickets up to Dundee with a smile on my face because it is touching, it is beautiful.

“It is really, really nice of them to come and support me.” 


The Future Is Now

The older you get the less inclined you are to prise yourself off the sofa and transport yourself to an arena to catch some live boxing rather than watch it on the box. Or so I am finding in my dotage.

But not even wild horses – nor a bad back- will keep me away from the Copper Box for show that sizzles with talent.

It is a throwback to the old days of value-for-money scraps, but with the accent heavily on youth.

Apart from that intriguing British welterweight title headliner between Bradley Skeete – in my book the most improved fighter in the land – and Dale Evans, a line-up that includes, among others, big hitters Anthony Yarde (currently my favourite rising star), and thunder-punching

Daniel Dubois, Lyon Woodstock and Jordan Thompson highlights the future of British boxing.

It is one I will happily hobble across the Olympic Park too see.

I like the Copper Box. It is a bright, modern, comfortable venue

with a decent capacity of 7,000 and all-round sighting.

I still can’t understand why London 2012 organisers did not employ it for the Olympic tournament rather than the barn-ExCel as it is ideal for boxing, as many fans have already discovere.


Here we go again. A couple of once-golden oldies believe they have still got it and want to pull the gloves on again to knock bits off each other. Or try to. Nigel Benn, who is 53, and Steve Collins, 52, say they are planning a ring reunion after more than two decades.

Nigel Benn

What a daft idea. And a potentially dangerous one. Fortunately it won’t happen.

For one thing the Board of Control won’t authorise it, not least because Collins retired on medical advice back in 1999 after an attempt to come out of retirement was halted when he collapsed during a sparring session.

And even if they get one from elsewhere, who would promote it, where would it be held, who would televise it and who would pay to watch it?

Not so long ago the Dark Destroyer was going to have re-match with Chris Eubank snr. That fell by the wayside and so will Benn v Collins III.

Both have fighting sons and they should be content get to get their fistic thrills vicariously through them.

I know both these superannuated super-middleweights keep themselves fit in their dotage – but fit to fight? No way.

These days boxing is increasingly a young man’s game; not exclusively so as Bernard Hopkins, Roy Jones jnr and the Klitschkos have shown. But they have been active fighters, not out of the game for 20 years.

If Benn and Collins want evidence of this I suggest they take in the Copper Box show on Saturday where they will witness an old-fashioned bill with fights that are bristling with young talent.

Golden oldies like Benn and Collins belong to the past, albeit a glorious one, and they should be satisfied with that and not tarnish their hard-fought reputations. 


Pacquiao v Horn

Maybe we should say the same about Manny Pacquiao

There has been much weeping, wailing and gnashing of gnashers over the controversial outcome of his world title fight with Jeff Horn in Brisbane at the weekend – mainly from an hysterical American media, especially ESPN.

I don’t understand why. I thought Aussie Jeff won the fight, though not by the nonsensical margin of six rounds (117-11) that one of the judges, Waleska Roldan, from New York made it.

The 115-113 assessment by the other two judges, from the US and Argentina, seemed perfectly reasonable to me.

As did that of the even-handed commentary BoxNation commentary team of John Rawling and Barry Jones who, as usual, were bang on the button.

Manny may have been busier but he wasn’t as accurate with his deliveries and it looked to me as if his 38 years has finally caught up with him.

You have been a great champ, Manny. But it’s time to go fight your political war in the Philippines.

The ever-popular Pacman took defeat graciously enough but now says he is appealing the result to the WBO.

Good luck with that one. He is likely to get short shrift as the WBO’s Puerto Rican president Francisco Varcarcel has said he was satisfied with the result – as has Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter – although the WBO have consented to having the fight re-scored.

But as for that out-of-synch judge, perhaps he should have gone to Specsavers!

(TV coverage from the Copper Box begins live and exclusive on BoxNation from 5.30pm on Saturday and on BT Sport from 6.30pm.)

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