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I want to win title as tribute for Towell

Dale Evans

Dale Evans is the mandatory challenger for the British title

Welsh boxer Dale Evans says he wants to win the British welterweight title as a tribute to Mike Towell.

Towell, 25, died in hospital after being injured in a fight with Evans in Glasgow on 1 October.

Evans, 24, attended Towell’s funeral and said the Scot’s family convinced him not to retire.

“Nothing would make me happier than winning the British title and taking it up to Dundee and showing Mike’s family and his friends,” Evans said.

“Winning it would make me so proud, and I think it would make the family proud and Mike too.”

Evans is the mandatory challenger for the welterweight title, which is held by Bradley Skeete.

“I considered knocking boxing on the head because I couldn’t deal with this happening again,” Evans told BBC Radio Wales Sport.

“But the British title… I would love to win it for myself, but now there is more incentive now than I’ve ever had before.

“Everything now – training hard, hitting that bag harder, work to a higher intensity – it is not just for me.

“It is for Mike, his family, his little boy, his supporters. It would be fantastic to do it for them.

“At the funeral, they were unbelievably understanding. Quite a lot have messaged me since or spoke to me at the funeral and said they wanted tickets to come and watch my next fight.

“That was touching, really nice. They are getting behind me – it is like still supporting Mike by supporting me and that has really lifted me.”

Waiting for the worst news

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Mike Towell, pictured during a bout in May 2015, was previously undefeated

Towell was knocked down for a second time in the fifth round of the fight at Glasgow’s Radisson Blu Hotel, and referee Victor Loughlin stopped the contest.

Towell received treatment in the ring and was given oxygen before being taken to an ambulance on a stretcher. He died in hospital the following day.

“We were told by members of Mike’s team that he wasn’t going to pull through and we just had to wait, which wasn’t nice,” Evans said.

“I always clung to that hope he would pull through, that he would be in a coma and his brain would recover, but we were past that stage.”

Do boxers know the risks?

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Nick Blackwell receives medical attention after his fight with Chris Eubank Jr

St Clears boxer Evans and trainer Gary Lockett do not think boxers fully understand the risks involved in the sport.

Lockett, a former world title contender, also trained Nick Blackwell, who spent two weeks in a coma this year and was forced to retire after a fight with Chris Eubank Jr.

“You never think it will happen. You know the risks, but with the medical people there, an ambulance outside and having your corner people to pull you out, a boxer will fight until they can’t fight no more,” said Evans.

“You think you are safe, but you are not.”

Lockett added: “I mean this with the greatest of respect, but they don’t know the risks and they don’t understand until something happens to someone close to them.

“I was exactly the same. You think, ‘it won’t happen to me’.

“But as we discussed five months ago, when I walked into that hospital and saw Nick Blackwell propped up with his head back, tubes everywhere, it is something that will never leave me.

“I am sure it was the same for Mike’s family seeing him in hospital. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy and my heart goes out to them.

“It is a brutal sport. It is the hurt game and once in a blue moon things like this happen and it is so cruel for everyone involved. It has happened to us twice in five months.”

‘The referee did nothing wrong’

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Referee Victor Loughlin (right) presided over Nick Blackwell v Chris Eubank Jr, and Dale Evans against Mike Towell

Lockett and Evans have supported Loughlin, who refereed the fight with Towell and also oversaw Blackwell’s fight with Eubank.

The Eubank-Blackwell bout polarised opinion, with former world champion Chris Eubank criticising Loughlin.

“He’s taken it pretty hard, but what was he supposed to do?” Lockett said.

“It is one of those situations where he has to make a split-second judgement. He does it week in, week out.

“I don’t believe he did anything wrong and, let’s remember, he is closer to the action than anyone else is. And Vic is probably the best referee in the country.

“These two things have happened to him now in five months. But I spoke to him and he said he wouldn’t do anything different in those two fights.

“He also said those two fights wouldn’t come in his top 10 or 15 in terms of the brutality, so him not stopping the fight earlier, it makes sense.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/wales/37706617