Newport's Evans now just one fight from an Olympic medal
6:20am Saturday 4th August 2012 in Sport
FRED EVANS is one fight away from achieving his dream of an Olympic medal after a stunning last-round performance saw him past Lithuania’s Egidijus Kavaliauskas.
The Newport welterweight did it the hard way though, going into the last round tied at 5-5 against the boxer who defeated him at last year’s World Championships.
But by the end of the last three minutes Kavaliauskas was looking like a drunken pub brawler who Evans was picking off with ease to triumph 11-7.
Next up is stocky Canadian Custio Clayton in the quarter-finals, and having been shocked by the raucous reception he received in his first fight, Evans is now starting to get used to life in the spotlight.
“A medal would be a dream come true,” said Evans. “This is what I have been training for and waiting for for so long now and to get a medal and then to be in the final of the Olympic championships would mean so much.
“I feel a bit more comfortable now. Coming out Sunday in front of that crowd was one big shock. It was unbelievable.
“I knew what to expect this time, I’m getting a feel for the arena. I can hear the chants and it is just a big buzz. I saw clips of the Canadian before coming in before I boxed. He looks a handful and he has to be a top kid to box here but hopefully I can come away with a medal.
“I know a little about him, I know he is a strong kid but I have never boxed him before. Obviously if I can secure that win then it is a medal in the bag.”
Evans feels his performances are improving.
“I started a bit too slowly in the first round but still hit him with some good shots so I was a little surprised to be behind at the end of the round,” he explained.
“But I knew towards the end of that round that I had the beating of him. He is an excellent opponent but I started to take control in the latter stages of the second round and I produced my best boxing in the third.”
Team GB’s boxing performance director Rob McCracken said defeating Kavaliauskas was a big scalp for Evans.
“He (Kavaliauskas) was the last amateur boxer that Fred lost to,” he said. “It rankled with him and he wanted to put it right. It was a great performance in front of a fantastic crowd, and he beat a top-notch opponent. It’s fantastic for Fred and it gives the team a massive lift.”
After the fireworks of his first fight, a 18-10 demolition of Ilyas Abbad, the first two rounds were a damp squib by comparison.
Kavaliauskas boxed on the back foot while Evans was looking to use his quick counter-punching ability. The judges awarded the first round 2-1 to the Lithuanian but Evans took more of the initiative in the second, rocking Kavaliauskas with a big right towards the end.
That tied the scores and it was the cue for Evans to dramatically up his workrate and aggression catching Kavaliauskas twice early on in the third. Kavaliauskas was then picked to pieces and looked broken at the bell.
“I knew he was a top kid with what he has done but I always wanted to box him again to prove a point,” Evans said.
“I knew I was better than him in the worlds but obviously I switched off after qualifying and he caught me. I am glad I got the win. Things just went to plan in the last round.”
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