Walking through the door of Dowlais ABC the instructions can be heard loud and clear as soon as I step over the threshold, the gym which is now kitted out in the latest of equipment is far removed from the one in which I visited as a young man. I take a few more steps as two men trade shots in the centre of the ring as Dean Lackman puts amateur star Jamie Evans through his paces.
Sunday morning where most are nursing hangovers from the night before gives no let up for the Dowlais gym, instead it provides me with a familiar sight, no sleeping on the job here as one of Wales’ brightest trainers Sean Jones gives his take from outside the ring, waiting his turn to step through the ropes in an effort to give Evan’s a different style to conquer.
It is refreshing to see a trainer so hands on in regards to putting his pupil through the rigorous training regime, but as I look on Dean who is now taking a breather in-between rounds tells me of his thoughts on Jamie as well as his long time friend (Sean) as I ask about the man in charge and his taking of such an active roll in his fighters development to which he adds “Sean wouldn’t ask any of us to do anything he wasn’t prepared to do himself” I look on, camera in hand, impressed by the sharpness and accuracy from the Welsh champion as he moves effortlessly through the gears against a taller / heavier type of opposition, sparring which is invaluable at this point in camp.
Rounds go by as the ultra fit trio finish up as Jaime takes his seat opposite me, a grounded young fighter who I have been eager to interview for quite some time, here for you all is the interview in its entirety with the man of the 175Ib division plus a few words from the man charged with leading that man to victory Sean Jones:
Who is Jamie Evans and What is his Interests….
I’ve got a two year old son where If I’m not boxing I’m usually spending time with him and my fiancée, often as well I will go to watch my friends play for Dowlais RFC
> Why Boxing….
When I was nine my Grandfather, probably tired of me hanging around the house, bored took me to the boxing gym where my brother also trained and It all started from there
> Favourite Fighter / Fighters…
I’m a big fan of Manny Pacquiao, I like the way he fights, comes forward and is so strong
> Fighting Style…
I’m a box fighter, I fight off the back foot but am also able to mix it up when needed, especially over the last four years where I have changed my style
> Favourite Punch….
My Jab, I throw that ten times more than any other
> Biggest Influence…
My brother who be my biggest Influence, when he was an amateur he very rarely was beaten but when he was to lose he took it, he wasn’t a bad loser or anything and was straight back in the gym the day after. He turned pro and was brilliant and everyone thought he would go far but unfortunately he had a problem with his eye so they took his licence off him. After that I thought that he wouldn’t come back to the gym but he didn’t let that get him down and ever since he has been in the gym helping the boys prepare for fight etc, we spar together and to be honest they are harder than the fights I have.
> Amateur Debut and Feeling going into that fight…
I made my debut at 11 which was in Barry, I remember being excited but at the same time nervous. Anyone who tells you they don’t get nervous are liars because I still get nervous now before a fight
> Proudest Sporting Moment…
My Proudest moment was receiving a letter to say that I got picked for the commonwealth games, unfortunately due to work and family commitments I couldn’t go but was really proud of myself for getting the recognition to be picked- Other than that I would say my fight with Fred Evans in 2012, I didn’t win the fight but everyone thought that I had put up a good performance against him where afterwards he went on to become a silver medallist in the Olympics
> Amateur Record… (At the Time of Writing)
Rough Idea I’ve had about 78 fights winning around 57
> Dowlais ABC….
Brilliant Gym, we have everything we could want up here but what makes it better is the training that I get, Sean (trainer) and my brother (Ryan) are both incredibly fit so they wont ask you do to something that they cant do themselves, we have a good camaraderie up here also with the likes of Dean (Lackman) and Scott (Murphy) we are all really good friends.
> Ones to Watch from the Dowlais Gym….
Cameron Rosser is a good kid with great skill but the only thing going against him is that he is light for the weight which becomes hard to match up, he did have an exhibition a couple of days ago against a fighter with around fourteen fights which he held his own against, we also got a young kid called Lewis who unfortunately lost his fight the same night that Cameron fought, but in the future he could be a threat because he can bang.
> What does a typical training day involve….
To start off I do 10 x 100m Sprints, 2 shadow, five or six on the bags, I then either do four rounds on the pads or six rounds sparring with my brother or Sean then to finish off another round of Shadow before Sean puts me through the circuits
Every other year apart from this I have struggled to make the weight, at 69 I was struggling and even coming up to 75 Ib class i found it difficult not because of the weight in particular but it was due to me growing. This year as been different, I have made 75 smack on within the last couple of weeks
> Reason for pulling out of the Commonwealth Games….
The reason was that I was only on a temp contract in work and while I was in squad training they were saying that I had to go to Canada for two weeks, then go with the GB team for a couple of days and with work and family commitments especially with a young baby at home, I just couldn’t attend.
Immediately it would be to win the championship again, I was going to turn pro last year after winning but due to work commitments and my home life I found it hard to juggle everything, but I’m enjoying what I am doing now and in a year or so I may look at the professionals again.
> Expectations from this Years Championship….
Same as last year, I’m never going into a fight thinking I have won it, I’m usually filled with doubt until Sean and my Brother tell me “look you’ve done all the training and your ready”, so I just go in there and lead with my jab and if the stoppage is there I will put on the pressure
> On Leaving…
I would like to say Thank you to Jamie Crimmings, he is the owner of Shadow Groundwork and Civils for his sponsorship leading up to the championship which as been a great help with getting new equipment so I really appreciate that
I would also like to Thank Sean and my Brother who without them I wouldn’t be in the shape I am, I know I can pick up the phone anytime and if they aren’t in work they will be there for me to come up the gym so I would also like to Thank them.
> Conclusion with Sean Jones:
As I watch on as Dean and Jamie go through the warm down process to their session, I take the opportunity to call over a sweat drenched Sean Jones to ask him a few questions to finish off my visit to the gym:
> Pressures & Expectations….
No Pressure really, having learned under my father for some years, I’ve got some experience and I have good fighters like Jamie now so we continue with no pressure at all
> Proudest Moment / Moments….
It has to be Jamie winning his first Welsh title, My father had trained him previously and as I took over, Jamie was able to win the title so that stands out as my proudest moment, Another which is also pleasing is my involvement in training Scott Murphy who hadn’t been in a boxing gym before the time I trained him, a fighter who then went on to win his first five fights
> Coming back to the Gym…
All the young kids coming through make me come back everyday to the gym, progressing them and seeing them perform in the ring obviously makes you happy that you had an hand in that development
> Fighters to look out for…..
Cameron Rosser is a very good kid but at the moment he is 15 and only 36Kg which makes matching him difficult, but as soon as he starts to fill out more he is going to be one to watch, he moves from orthodox to southpaw effortlessly, real good kid
> How Good is Jamie / How Good can he Become….
Very Good, he is very elusive, you would be surprised how many people have said after a fight how hard he is to actually hit, I honestly believe if he was to fight for the British he would have a very good chance, I think he is up there with the likes of Anthony Fowler in my honest opinion.
> Comparing his style…..
The first name that springs to mind would be Juan Manuel Marquez because like him, Jamie is a sharp counter puncher but can attack when needed, so comparing a style I would say Marquez
> On Leaving…..
I would like to say Thanks to all the boys that continue to come back to the gym every year and also to the people who provide the grants that is essential to keep the gym up and running with good equipment.
Leaving, it is clear to me that the gym is in very good hands with Sean Jones at the helm, a man that continues to churn out talented fighters with every passing year from the likes of Jamie Evans, his brother Ryan and the aforementioned Scott Murphy all under his watchful eye from his gym in Dowlais.
My best wishes go out to Jamie, a down to earth, grounded individual with a work ethic that is second to none. I will continue to support the gym as I will Jamie in a career which I am sure will bring more Silverware and much success.