TWO of the biggest success stories to emerge from Merlins Bridge Ameteur Boxing Club in the past decade have both announced this week they are stepping away from the sport.

Professional boxer Dale Evans confirmed via social media he was retiring, admitting he no longer had the hunger and desire to continue.

Evans has been boxing since the age of nine, and he regularly trained and fought for Merlins Bridge ABC where he won numerous Welsh schoolboy titles.

He later turned pro and amassed a record of 13 wins, four defeats and two draws – with a career highlight coming in January 2013 when he reached the final of the televised Prizefighter competition on Sky Sports, losing on a split decision to Glenn Foot.

But his career was tainted by tragedy in September 2016 when he defeated Scottish fighter Mike Towell in Glasgow – before his opponent, who unbeknown to him had entered the bout with a brain injury, died in hospital the following day.

Evans won great praise for the dignified manner in which he handled himself in the aftermath of the news, and after attending Towell’s funeral, vowed to go on to win the British title in his honour.

However, the 26-year-old lost his British Welterweight title bout to defending champion Bradley Skeete last July, and has since admitted to struggling for motivation as he tried to balance full time work with a professional career.

“My boxing days are over,” he confirmed via a publicly released statement.

“I’ve had a rollercoaster of a career, never backed out of a fight, didn’t care about the unbeaten record, I just got on with it in order to earn a few quid for myself. I worked alongside the boxing for the majority of my career because the money was never great.

“After some time out and questioning myself whether I’d fight again, a big fight was offered to me a few weeks ago. As always, I jumped at it - but the spark and determination wasn’t there. Just worry and fear.

“So that’s why I’ve made the decision I have.”

Evans also thanked everyone who had supported him, in particular Castle Scaffolding who helped him financially during his final year of fighting.

And following his announcement, came the news that Charlene Jones was also stepping away from boxing.

She made history in 2014 when aged 24, she became the first ever Welsh woman to box in the Commonwealth Games, defeating Sri Lankan Hansika Arachchi in the women’s lightweight section. She would eventually lose in the quarter finals in Glasgow.

And that was just one of many numerous career achievements for Jones, who was crowned Great Britain Elite Women’s Champion in 2016, and won a string of medals and titles at both national and international level.

But like Evans, she too released a statement this week after a period away from the ring.

“Boxing has been my life ever since I walked into a gym at the age of nine but this past year I have been questioning whether I want to do this anymore,” she said.

“I’ve not had a bad career and trained my hardest and wanted to come back in 2018 as an amateur or even a pro.

“But the sport has also put me in some dark places. I don’t want sympathy but it’s best I step away from the boxing ring. It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever had to do but until I’m 100% again it is pointless going around in circles.”

Jones also thanked everyone who had helped in throughout her career, although didn’t completely rule out a return.

“It might be the end and it might not. But right now my heart isn’t in it and as boxers know it’s a dangerous sport to be in if you’re not 100%.”

Both fighters were brought up through the ranks by Merlins Bridge ABC head coach Graham Brockway, whilst also training in Cardiff and further afield.

Telegraph Sport congratulates both Dale and Charlene on their career achievements, and wishes both fighters the best for the future.