Olympics boxing: Fred Evans targeting glittering future

Fred Evans

Despite being just 21, boxer Fred Evans' road to becoming an Olympic silver medallist at London 2012 has been a long one.

That is because the welterweight from St Mellons in Cardiff first set foot in a boxing club at the age of four and Evans had his first competitive bout as a 10-year-old.

Those 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.

Now trained by Tony Borg at St Joseph Amateur Boxing Club in Newport and under Rob McCracken at the Team GB facilities in Sheffield, Evans first announced his talent on the international stage when the Welshman won gold at the European Cadet Championships in Hungary in 2007.

Great Britain's Fred Evans

Having been recognised as an emerging British talent, Evans was invited to attend the Beijing Olympics the following year as part of the Olympic Ambition Programme. This was designed to give possible future Olympians the chance to sample what was being experienced by Team GB's class of 2008.

In 2009, Evans became part of the GB Boxing Development squad.

"They sent us over to the 2008 Olympics just for the experience and watching that, being there and seeing the village was unbelievable," said Evans.

"Ever since then I've thought - when it was confirmed in London - imagine being there, it would be unbelievable... it would be a dream come true [to win the gold medal]."

In June 2011, Evans made history alongside his team-mate and close friend, Andrew Selby, when they became the first Welshmen for 86 years to win gold at the European Championships.

Evans outpointed Mahamed Nurudzinau of Belarus 15-9 in the final in Ankara, Turkey.

The welterweight's stellar year continued when in October Evans qualified for the Olympic Games by reaching the last eight at the World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan, before losing to Egidijus Kavaliauskas.

Evans admits he took his eye off the ball in Baku after securing his Olympic spot.

"After the qualifying fight I switched off completely, I should never have lost to him," said Evans, who gained his revenge on the Lithuanian at London 2012, beating Kavaliauskas 11-7 to advance to the quarter-finals.

The inclusion of Selby and Evans was remarkable as the pair were the first Welsh boxers to make an Olympic squad since 1984.

Evans beat Canada's Custio Clayton in the London 2012 quarter-finals to secure at least a bronze, then saw off world number one Taras Shelestyuk of Ukraine in the semis.

Serik Sapiyev stood between Evans and ultimate Olympic glory in the final day of action at London 2012, but the challenge of the Kazakhstan fighter proved a step too far and Evans had to settle for silver after losing 9-17.

But that silver is Wales' best boxing medal, trumping Ralph Evans' bronze won at the 1972 Munich Games - the only previous Olympic podium finish by a Welsh boxer.

All Evans' success has come after the tragedy of losing both his mother, Tracy, and four-year-old sister, Scarlett, in a road accident in 2006.

But while the past has its dark points the future is now bright for the 21-year-old, who has yet to decide whether to turn professional after London 2012 or continue as an amateur with his sights set on an Olympic medal in Rio in four years.

"I'm not sure, it's possible, but I'll sit down after with my family and obviously my club coach and decide really where I want to go from there," Evans added.

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