If Evan Metcalfe wins the National Senior Elite title in the National Stadium this Saturday night – which he firmly believes he will – it will prove to be his Tyson Fury up off the floor in round 12 moment.
Victory would mean personal redemption aligned with a form of revenge against not only those who doubted him, but those who lambasted him for an error he stresses anyone could make.
The Hyland Boxing Academy fighter edged Tommy McCarthy, who has since turned pro with Boxing Ireland, in last year’s National Elite bantamweight [56kg] decider, but was stripped of his and the club’s first Senior title after a failing a drug test.
Metcalfe tested positive for carboxy-THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), a by-product of cannabis, after mistaking a joint for a cigarette at a house party just days before the decider and was banned for four months.
The former Crumlin amateur, whose sister Courtney is U22 and Intermediate champion and whose brother Aiden fights for the BUI Celtic title on TG4 next month, had no issue admitting he made an error, but was aggrieved that no one gave him the benefit of the doubt.
He returns at flyweight [52kgs] this year and claimed he has been long since been relishing the chance to return to the South Circular Road on Senior Finals night to secure redemption.
26-year-old Metcalfe also wants to prove people can bounce back from mistakes and there is a little bit in him that does want to stick it to his harshest of critics.
“I want it more,” he told Irish-Boxing.com ahead of his clash with Intermediate and U22 champ Adam Hession of Monivea in this year’s decider having received a bye to the final.
“I feel like I have to show everyone you can get back up from your mistakes. You can do these things and get back. I am going to prove everyone wrong on Saturday, every single person, they are all going to see a different fighter and there is no excuses then.”
“No one can say ‘he is on this’ or ‘he is on that’ – even though we know weed doesn’t help you. I have no problems getting tested,” he adds before stressing he didn’t sulk following the ban.
“It made me want it more. I want to prove everyone can have a slip up in life. That is life for you. I have a baby on the way too so I want it even more. I want to prove I am a true champion and champions don’t give in just like that. Everyone makes mistake ,that’s life.”
Although he is defiant and determined to stick two fingers up to the doubters in a boxing sense this weekend, Metcalfe admitted joining his brother Aiden in the pro ranks was something that crossed his mind last year.
However, with it being a vital year in terms of trying to qualify for the Olympics, the Dubliner claims he had to give it one more go.
“I was looking at the pro game. When I first got the ban I was thinking will I go pro, but then I was like ‘nah’.”
“Why go pro this year, this is the big year. Everyone wants to go the Olympics or at least try and get there. I’ll give it one more try this year.”
It’s a somewhat brave approach from the Dubliner. Rather than mope about his error, he did his best to use it fuel a National title assault. He certainly isn’t returning with his tail between his legs and head bowed down.
Indeed, it’s quite the opposite. Metcalfe is adamant Saturday will be a bout between man and boy and one which the man, himself, will win rather comfortably.
“They are boys compared to me,” he said after watching the semi-final between 18-year-olds Hession and Rory Baird.
“You seen it tonight, they are two boys fighting each other.”
“I have nothing against Adan, he is a good boxer. You seen it there tonight he boxed well, moved well, but I don’t think he will be anywhere near me. Especially with my experience, my age.”
“I am a man compared to him.”
“I just can’t wait. I am excited even looking at the boys in there tonight. I am itching to get in now,” he added before stressing he is in the shape of his life.
Down at 52kg, no house parties have been frequented, no pints drunk, no cigarettes – marijuana or otherwise – smoked.
A strong-looking Metcalfe explained how “I am in amazing shape man. I have been training twice a day every single day, keeping down my weight, I feel much healthier, stronger, and I have been doing things like I am supposed to be.”
“I had a hiccup last year and there won’t be anything like that ever again. I feel the difference now. Even in my face everyone says it, you look at me and I am a different person.”
“At this weight? Come on, not one of those boys will come near me.”