Scotty Cardle and Craig Evans proved that the British strap as they had a heated exchange at today’s press conference ahead of their Lightweight title battle at The O2 on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Cardle and Evans were calm as they posed for pictures at the press conference but as Cardle appeared to snub Evans’ offer of a handshake, Evans flicked out at the Lytham St. Annes man who reacted angrily to the gesture.
The unbeaten pair are desperate to get their hands on the title and it’s sure to be a tense weigh-in at Indigo at The O2 on Friday lunchtime – with Cardle desperate to make a name for himself alongside his illustrious gym mates in Joe Gallagher’s Bolton gym, and Evans keen to prove the bookies wrong.
“Everybody in the gym is making noise and making big names for themselves, and then there is me plodding along and getting there slowly but surely,” said Cardle. “Saturday is my time to shine and I do plan on entering the Lightweight division majestically.
“It’s my pay-per-view debut and it is such a big card to be on. It is a big moment and a big opportunity for me to be on a big bill and get that experience under by belt. I am overwhelmed to be a part of such a big show but I know I have a tough task ahead of me to win that Lonsdale belt.
“Craig Evans is a tough fight for me. Preparation has been perfect and I am more than ready. I know Craig from the GB setup. He was on the development squad when I was on the podium squad, so I have seen a bit of him back in those days.
“I haven’t seen too much of him as a professional but I have studied him and I know what I am in for. He is a southpaw, which is tricky anyway, but he is a tricky southpaw. I have a tough fight on my hands but the sparring and everything in training has been very precise. I have ticked all the boxes I can, so I am happy.”
“This title shot means absolutely everything to me,” said Evans. “I was meant to have a British title shot twice with Liam Walsh but he pulled out twice so I am moving up a weight to take on Cardle.
“I would love to win this title; the British title is one of the big belts before you go on to World level and I would love to bring this belt home.
“Cardle is a good fighter but I feel I am being a bit underestimated when you look at the bookies’ odds – but that doesn’t matter to me. There will only be me and him in the ring and I am thankful for the chance to fight for the British title on a big, big stage like this.
“I know Cardle from the amateurs. He is a good fighter, fast hands, but I don’t think he has met anybody of my calibre. He has fought name fighters but when he fought Paul Appleby I thought Appleby was on his way out. He isn’t fighting Appleby when he is fighting Craig Evans; he is fighting the best at Lightweight and I think I will beat him comfortably.
“His professional career has gone smoothly with 17 wins on the bounce. He is a tricky fighter and I rate him highly, he is a really good fighter but I am a good fighter too. I see it as a 50/50 fight. I am looking forward to the challenge and I think I can come out on top and bring this belt back to Wales.
“I am definitely ready for this. The better opponent I fight, the better you will see Craig Evans. I know he will come to fight to try and win the British title so we will meet straight on and I am looking forward to it.”
Cardle’s meeting with Evans is part of a massive night of action in London, with three huge World title fights topping a huge bill.
Sheffield’s Kell Brook defends his IBF World Welterweight title against Birmingham’s Frankie Gavin, Londoner Kevin Mitchell challenges Jorge Linares for the WBC Lightweight belt and Welsh stylist Lee Selby attempts to take the IBF Featherweight crown from Evgeny Gradovich.
Anthony Joshua MBE steps-up in class against Kevin ‘Kingpin’ Johnson and there are two more great domestic title bouts on the undercard with John Ryder tackling Nick Blackwell for the vacant British Middleweight strap and Dave Ryan defending his Commonwealth Light Welterweight title against John Wayne Hibbert. Former World champion Nathan Cleverly is in action and Lucien Reid makes his pro debut.
Limited tickets remain on sale for the bumper night of boxing at The O2 priced at £40 and £60 from www.theO2.co.uk and on 0844 856 0202.
Sky Sports Box Office will show Brook v Gavin exclusively live this Saturday. Buy now at www.skysports.com/brookgavin