Blackwood’s Craig Evans (b. 1989) has emerged from the hugely successful St Joseph’s gym to win the European lightweight title and put himself in the frame for world honours.
After turning professional in 2010, Evans built his experience by fighting all over the UK in claiming 14 successive victories.
That earnt him a May 2015 shot at the vacant British lightweight title, the Welshman showing his championship ability by going the full distance against Scott Cardle, but losing a unanimous decision.
His performance was good enough to earn him a shot at the vacant European title in his next outing in October.
His opponent would soon become a familiar face, Liverpool’s Thomas Stalker.
The pair couldn’t be split on the scorecards at the MEN Arena, and the result in the rematch in December at the same venue was exactly the same.
The third fight in their trilogy was long-delayed but inevitable, the date finally set for November 2016 in Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena.
Another very tight bout ended with Evans finally gaining supremacy – and the European crown – through a majority decision.
The Welshman was back on the road for his first defence, travelling to face Irishman Stephen Ormond at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall.
Evans dropped his opponent twice in the final round to ease him on the way to a unanimous victory that left him targeting the world scene.