Fred Evans makes Welsh boxing history with silver medal

Jordan Davies spoke to regulars and the landlady at The Picton Arms, Newport, close to the gym where Fred Evans trains.

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Supporters back home in south Wales have been praising boxer Fred Evans after his historic Olympic silver medal at London 2012.

The 21-year-old welterweight, from St Mellons in Cardiff, lost his bout with Kazakhstan's Serik Sapiyev in a 17-9 defeat.

But it was Wales' first medal in the sport since 1972.

Evans, who trains in Newport, first stepped into the ring as a 10-year-old.

He has also overcome the personal tragedy of losing his mother and four-year-old sister in a car crash in 2006.

Chairperson of Sports Wales Laura McAllister praised Evans, calling his achievement "historic".

"He has fought brilliantly throughout the competition to win Wales' first ever silver Olympic boxing medal and can surely look forward to a very bright future.

"This seventh medal from a Welsh competitor is the icing on the cake for Wales."

It is also Wales' best boxing medal, trumping Rhondda-born light flyweight Ralph Evans' bronze in 1972.

That medal won at the Munich Games was the only previous Olympic podium finish by a Welsh boxer.

Ralph Evans had previously joked he had been "a bit lonely" being the only boxer to receive a medal.

"He's a brilliant counter puncher, probably the best we have in the squad," he told BBC Wales before the final.

"It's going to bring more youngsters off the streets. This will kick start it again, for the next two Olympics we'll have double the amount of fighters and runners coming forward.

"Down in valleys, I can see children going into the gyms and trying to copy what Freddie, and [Barry boxer and Olympic team member] Andrew Selby, are doing."

Fred Evans with his silver medal Fred Evans with his silver medal

Congratulations also followed from First Minister Carwyn Jones and council chiefs in his home city Cardiff and Newport, where Evans trains.

Former Olympic champion boxer Audley Harrison called it "a tremendous achievement".

Evans' formative years were spent at Cwmavon Hornets, near Port Talbot, a boxing club that has also produced the likes of Darren Edwards who won featherweight bronze at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

He is now trained by Tony Borg at St Joseph Amateur Boxing Club in Newport and under Rob McCracken at the Team GB facilities in Sheffield.

Sheila Gill, landlady of Evans' local pub in Newport, The Picton Arms, said: "It'll be great for the young children, there's nowhere to go, there's not a lot of facilities round here.

"He's a gentleman. He's waves at everybody, he speaks to everybody. We're all very proud of him.

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