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BRITISH PENSIONER RETURNS TO THE BULLRING.

SPAIN'S only British bullfighter has strutted out of retirement and back into the ring, winning two trophies - the ears of the beast he had just slain.

It was an impressive comeback for Frank Evans, a 65-year-old pensioner and survivor of knee replacement and quadruple bypass surgery.

"It felt fantastic. It is where I am happiest," said Mr Evans, who goes by the name of El Ingles - the Englishman - in a ringside interview after his first bout in three years.

The setting was anything but grand: a lowest-possible-category ring in a hillside village called Villanueva de la Concepcion, with around 600 fans.

Mr Evans, a slightly built father of two and grandfather of five, is the first to admit he is anything but a superstar bullfighter, having never made it to the top-flight arenas.

But he is the only Briton to have reached the profession's top rank: matador.

They kill animals weighing more than 600 kilograms, as opposed to novices who fight younger, smaller animals or other lower-level colleagues who poke bulls with spikes, bleeding and weakening them until the master steps in for the death blow. Mr Evans took part in a charity fundraiser that did involve younger bulls.

Technically, until he fights an adult one, he has not come out of retirement. But as far as he is concerned, on this day he proved himself.

"For me it confirms to all these doubters that I am fit enough to do this," he said.

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EVASIVE ACTION 65-year-old Frank Evans performing during his bullfight in southern Spain.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 19, 2008
Words:258
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