By: Rich Quiñones
If you ask rising prospect and hard-hitting Yuandale Evans about his career thus far he will tell you that it has been a bumpy road, but if you listen closely, you will soon figure out that he wouldn’t want it any other way. The last time we saw Evans in the ring he suffered his first career loss to Javier Fortuna back in April of 2012. In a slated 10-round affair Fortuna secured a first-round TKO win and soon after the loss, many people were quick to write Evans off.
The exciting young boxer out of Cleveland, Ohio nicknamed “Money Shot” knows better then to have you dismiss him so quickly, and when he steps back into the ring Saturday night against Arturo Santiago in a six-round bout at South Carolina State University, he wants his doubters to know that as well. He is onto them and they better take notice.
Evans has one simple message. He is just getting started.
The two-time national Golden Gloves bronze medalist carries a 16-1 record into his Saturday clash. He is no stranger to the spotlight having fought in nine nationally televised fights and is wise beyond his years. He took time to speak with On “Q”Sports about how he was handled after his setback, understanding the politics of the sport and how he does not hold a grudge against Roy Jones Jr.
Rich: How does it feel to get back in the ring after such a layoff?
Yuandale: “It feels great, it feels like I won the match already and it just feels great to get back in there after almost two years. I am happy, I am ready to go.”
Rich: I can not only sense your excitement but I also sense frustration in you. As if you are shaking your head wandering why it took so long to get back in the ring after your first pro loss. How frustrating has it been for you?
Yuandale: “It was very frustrating. but coming up as a kid in boxing and going through problems and dealing with negativity all the time, it was just tough to deal with that stuff. Most guys would just throw in the towel after the loss or during the layoff, but not me. I am a believer that all things come with patience. God brings things when you are patient. I just kept working and working and I knew one day I would get a call, it did not break me down mentally but it made me break down physically. Because I was at the gym everyday and I was looking to see who was getting fights and just getting distracted so I would stay away from the gym for a whole month and then come back. It did not mentality break me down because I have been through a lot in life. It was a sticky situation. It was a situation I do not think boxers should go through. Unless they are really hurt, or their is proof they have brain damage or they just could not continue with their career then that is different, but not because of one loss.”
Rich: What happened in your loss to Javier Fortuna?
Yuandale: “We were both southpaws, he is a fast paced fighter and I am more of a knock out puncher who steps up for a knock out punch. Basically I went down and then went up to throw an upper cut and he came straight over with an overhand left hand that connected before I got my punch off, which put me down. It stumbled me down to the mat but I got right up and instead of grabbing him and getting right up and taking a moment I didn’t. Even the ref could have counted me out or something, but he let me go right back into the fight and I was hurt. I was trying to fight and I was never ever in that situation and I tried to just throw everything at him and try to clip him, but he rushed me and caught me again and I went down.”
Rich: Was their miscommunication between you and your corner, or no communication at all?
Yuandal: “Basically my corner man lacked in structure because no one in my corner gave me any instructions. No one told me to grab him, hold him, take a knee, anything. No one yelled or called out and the only thing I new was to fight him straight up and that would be any man’s natural reaction. I was with a new coach and I used him when I sparred and was working with Yuriorkis Gamboa and really there was a lack of a corner, lack of decisions. Like I said, I have never been down before.”
Rich: What was the domino effect after that loss?
Yuandale: “Well my promoters basically said we do not have the money to push you anymore, you know that sob story. They did not want to release me. To be honest I was signed with Square Ring since 2009, since I was a kid. I was 19 and I really did not understand why I was not signed with Roy Jones Jr. He had his promotional company and I was not signed with him. Roy was the head and the face of Square Ring promotions. I just thought there was some under the table things going on when I was with Square Ring. My manager honestly got me all my fights. Square Ring maybe got me six total in my career, not even. These guys did not want to release me. I came up with Prenice Brewer, and Willie Nelson and Terrell Gausha and look at Nelson he suffered a loss and he was able to redeem himself, Brewer has three loses and he got to redeem himself, and I take one, and I get dropped. It doesn’t make sense.”
Rich: Did you have to fight them to get released?
Yuandale: “Yeah, I did. I had to fight to get released and I fought against my manager and promoter and I actually won. It took me years to file against Square Ring because of Roy Jones Jr.’s relationship. My promoter and Roy wanted to have me fight at lightweight. I am fighting at 122, this fight this weekend I am fighting at 126.”
Rich: That must have been a long process?
Yuandale: “We had to send emails and it went back and forth, to try to make it work and I never heard back and then they were making excuses up and they said they never heard back from me so they thought I was retired. It does not make sense. You do not send a prospect down after one loss and think he is retired. It made no sense. The promoter and the manager put all that money behind me and they pulled out, which was the dumbest thing they could have did. With the promoters they just did not want me to fight. Roy Jones basically did not get along with the manager. He wanted me to move to Florida. How can I move to Florida when I cant even trust you in Cleveland? Man it was a lot to take, it came up out of nowhere, but all I can do was just keep training and training and that is all I did.”
Rich: Let’s move forward to Saturday. Your original opponent was John Willoughby, who did not pass his physical. Now you will face Arturo Santiago. Are you even concerned who is going to be in there with you, because this really is a tune-up for you going forward?
Yuandale: “Right now it does not matter. I am still a prospect. I am only 25 years-old. I am in the gym. I just came out of camp with Mark Davis, who signed with Curtis Jackson 50Cent. I have been sparring eight to ten rounds, training every day, twice a day. I just work hard every day. I do not worry about the opponent. He is no Javier Fortuna is he? We know better to say something like that. But this will be a decent fight for me and if I can get my name back out there on the charts and show people that I am still around that is all I want. I feel like if I get fights it will open up doors for me. I have been training hard, I believe I will come out with a win. I am not looking for the knock out. I am not looking for a decision. I am out there to learn and make sure that the ring rust is knocked off and I still have it, which I believe I do.”
Rich: You sound very confident.
Yuandale: “You can never sound to cocky, but it just does not matter who is in the ring with me. They are not getting a win over me.”
Rich: How has it been working with David McWater?
Yuandale: “It is a blessing, he is a great guy. He is great. I like to spoil him because I have been in the game awhile, and I like to let him know what makes me feel comfortable and what I am uncomfortable with. He is the man right now. He gets me. He is a good guy, and this is just a great opportunity for me to work with him and we work well together. It is a great feeling.”
Rich: To be a young boxer and lose a fight can be tough. But to really lose everything at the same time, has to make you question some things. Did you lose trust in your supporting cast after your loss?
Yuandale: “Yeah I lost trust around me. I really just lost a lot of trust in everyone. When people are just looking to throw me back in the ring the two years I have been laid off it made me wander. I got calls from my old coach and my old manager and they were just looking to stick me in there. My promoters like Roy were telling me to fight at 135, what the hell are you talking about. Do you really think my career is over? I am not going to throw it away over a couple of dollars. Even my team turned into haters and they turned their back on me, not all of them, but they were not all good soldiers. But at the end of the day it is what it is. I had a lot going for myself and everyone turned their back on me after one loss, including my promoters and manager.”
Rich: Do you harbor any hard feeling or ill will towards Roy Jones Jr.?
Yuandale: “No, he is a good guy. He is a real good guy. I just think for all boxers out there you should not sign with a guy who is still fighting. It is not safe because they need to worry about themselves. I just do not think it is safe to have someone promote them or just have a promoter if it is just not going to work. I just feel that some people do not need to do that, but he is a good guy. I think it was just more under the table stuff with that, why wouldn’t a guy want to sign with him? How can a guy like Roy Jones Jr. not push a fighter?”
Rich: What is your natural weight class?
Yuandale: “126 is natural, I have been getting down to 124, 122 and just playing around with it in the gym.”
Rich: When was the last time you spoke to Roy Jones Jr.?
Yuandale: “Roy called me back around this time last year and said if I could make 122 he would have a fight for me. I called him, recorded myself getting on a scale, sent it to him and never heard back.”
Rich: What is the plan going forward after Saturday?
Yuandale: “I would like to see four fights this year, because of the way I was moved before and how often I am used to fighting. I think my body can snap back in shape to where it was. I do not drink, or smoke, or party. I just train. I just want to get two tune-up fights before I fight in October. I am fighting the Chinese Super Bantam champ at the Mohegan Sun. So I am fighting this weekend and then say in August and maybe again in September before the October fight.”
Follow Yuandale on twitter at @YuandaleEvans and follow him on IG @officialyuandaleevans
Rich Quiñones is an award winning broadcaster and journalist. He is the lead blow-by-blow Boxing voice for GFL.tv and Go Fight Live’s Boxing on Comcast. He has sat ringside calling the action with Monte Barrett, Brian Adams, Amir Mansour, Danny Garcia, James Kirkland, Mark Breland, Ronnie Shields, Teddy Atlas and Lou DiBella, while broadcasting over 125 bouts for GFL in 2013-2014.
Rich is also a contributor to Ringnews24.com and he has also handled calling the action for Muay Thai and is exclusive lead blow-by-blow voice for CFFC MMA.