Fred Evans looking to rebuild boxing career five years on from London

Fred Evans and Anthony Joshua
Fred Evans and Anthony Joshua won medals at London 2012 on the same day

He stood proudly on the podium during the London 2012 Olympic Games on the same day as Anthony Joshua.

For Fred Evans, that silver at welterweight was supposed to be the start of a glorious boxing career, the kind Joshua has enjoyed since 2013.

However, five years, two convictions for assault and a British Boxing Board of Control ban later, it is only now that Evans is daring to dream again.

His professional career begins on Friday in Cardiff, as the 26-year old looks to live up to his potential.

Evans was once one of British boxing's top prospects, having dazzled in London and then in the World Boxing Series that followed for Britain's brightest amateur prospects.

The super-welterweight now faces Belgian Najim Fennane at Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena in his debut, but the fighter from St Mellons is only too aware he almost curtailed his career before it began, almost cost himself the chance to even compete.

The St Josephs-trained boxer was given a suspended jail term in 2015 shortly after turning professional, while a 2014 assault in a lap-dance club had already cost him the chance to represent Wales in the Commonwealth Games.

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Olympic medallist Fred Evans on road to redemption

It is fair to say, lessons have been learned.

"Things haven't worked out as I wanted, I've had a few backward steps and a few issues, but I just put that behind me now and look to the future ," Evans said.

"It was stuff outside the ring, I've got some regrets, I've been in the wrong place at the wrong time and of course I regret it.

"I had to put the boxing to one side and I had to accept what was going on."

Fame came at a cost

For Evans, only 21 at the Olympics, fame simply came too fast.

"Adjusting to fame after the Olympics was weird to adapt to, it was a shock to the system, but I tried to take it in my stride," he said.

"It was very hard after London, all I've known since I was 10 years old is boxing, and I've been in the gym all the way through.

"So to not be able to do it, leading up to the professional ranks, it's a time I am glad is behind me.

"I had a couple of little hurdles to cross over in terms of getting a licence from the British Boxing Board of Control, but we got there in the end and I am back where I belong.

"I've ticked over for the last few years, just waiting for that period in my life to be over.

"I've had to take lessons and I have learned the hard way.

"It has been a long time coming turning pro, it is something I have been looking forward to."

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Olympian Evans seeking fast route to the top

Evans, proud of his Traveller heritage, says he has been inspired in recent years by both Tyson Fury and Billy Joe Saunders making a big impression across the world stage.

Evans thinks it is even an advantage for a fighter to come from a background where your supporter base remains strong.

"Tyson Fury and Billy Joe Saunders have shown what is possible (for someone from a Traveller background) and I want a piece of that," he told BBC Wales Sport.

"They've gone out and won world titles and that's hopefully something I can follow.

"Travelling fighters have an advantage in that we have a huge in-built fan base, I will never have a problem selling tickets, they can't wait for me to get going and I know for a fact they will follow me for my whole career.

"I've had months preparing, I put on a lot of weight, but that is trimmed off, I am as strong and as fit as I have been."

For promoter Barry McGuigan, the Fred Evans story now only has one likely outcome.

"He's got all the talent to go right to the very top," he told BBC Wales Sport.

The journey there, begins now.

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