Anthony Crolla Lightweight protégé Dylan Evans has landed a dream slot on the bumper July 6 Sky Sports and DAZN televised Manchester Arena card that features Lawrence Okolie vs. Jack Massey, Scott Fitzgerald vs. Brian Rose, Felix Cash vs. Jack Cullen and more.
Fighting out of the Fox ABC in Manchester’s Newton Heath, 22-year-old Evans made a wining start to life in the professional ranks in 2017, outpointing Joe Beeden at the Oldham Leisure Centre before being forced to curb his boxing dream to focus on work commitments.
Determined to relaunch his short-lived pro boxing career, Evans turned to former WBA Lightweight ruler ‘Million Dollar’ Crolla for advice and guidance. Crolla took Evans under his wing, beginning a role as his trainer/manager, and the Mancunian partnership got off to a winning start as Evans earned a comfortable decision over Michael Horabin last month.
“His experience is second to none and he’s a massive inspiration to me as well,” said Evans. “He’s someone that I’ve always looked up to. He was always helping train the lads in our amateur gym after his sessions. Hopefully I can pick up from all of his experience, his experience at boxing at Manchester Arena multiple times is second to none.
“He’s Manchester’s main boxer at the minute and he’s been through everything in his career. He’s had a rollercoaster career, he’s experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. It’s amazing to have him in my corner. He’s good mates with my brother-in-law and we’ve known each other for the past ten years, we go way back.
“I was gobsmacked when I found out that I’d be boxing at Manchester Arena. It’s not something that I was expecting. It’s a dream come true to be fighting at the arena I used to attend as a kid. All Manchester fighters want to box at the arena at some point in their career. To box there so early on in mine is going to give me massive experience moving forward and massive motivation to one day top a bill in Manchester.”
Crolla won the WBA Lightweight World title with a fifth-round knockout of Columbia’s Darleys Perez on a hugely emotional evening at Manchester Arena in November 2015 and successfully defended his title with a fifth-round KO of Ismael Barroso at the same venue the following year.
The North West hero returns to the scene of his greatest triumph for the first time as a trainer next month and is already backing his Moston protégé to make his own mark in Manchester.
“I was probably the first person to take him on the pads when he was a kid,” said Crolla. “He’s a good lad. He trains as hard as anyone. At first, I was just looking to help him out a little bit, but you can’t help but get involved way more than you thought you would. I love the lad’s attitude.
“I see a lot of him in me – a young lad who wants to work hard and get the best out of what he’s got. I think there is quite a lot of similarities in us both. He’s only 22, he’s got so much to learn but he’s learning all the time and he’s the kind of kid that picks things up fast.
“He was over in LA training with us and he’s been getting great sparring with Stephen Smith, that can only help him. He’s a kid who’s not had much experience, but he does absolutely everything asked of him. He’s super fit, he lives the life. I’m excited to see how far we can go. We’re going to take it one fight at a time. He’s absolutely made up to be on the card at Manchester Arena.
“I’m not retired yet but it will be very proud moment for me to go to the arena as a trainer on the night, as much as I’d love to be fighting. It’s going to be little bit different to what I’m used to. I think it will be a little bit surreal, but I’d like to think that I can offer him as good advice about fighting at Manchester Arena than almost anyone.
“It’s something that I’m really looking forward to. I hope to be back there as a fighter one more time before I finish, but for the meantime it will be a very proud moment for me to go there as a trainer for the first time. It’s an arena that holds some special memories for me and I hope Dylan can create some of his own, starting on July 6.”
Evans features on a huge night of boxing in Manchester where Lawrence Okolie (12-0, 9 KOs) puts his British and Commonwealth Cruiserweight titles on the line against Jack Massey (16-0, 8 KOs), Scott Fitzgerald (13-0, 9 KOs) defends his WBA International Super-Welterweight title against former World title challenger Brian Rose (31-5-1, 8 KOs) in a huge Preston vs. Blackpool Lancashire derby, Felix Cash (11-0, 7 KOs) defends his Commonwealth Middleweight crown against Bolton’s Jack Cullen (16-1, 7 KOs), Anthony Fowler (9-1, 8 KOs) returns after his first pro defeat and Sheffield’s Dalton Smith looks to go 2-0 as a prowith more exciting additions to the card to follow.
Tickets priced £40, £60, £100 and £200 (VIP) are available to purchase now via StubHub (www.stubhub.co.uk), Manchester Arena via ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.co.uk) and Matchroom Boxing (www.matchroomboxing.com).