It's bronze at least for Newport's Fred Evans
10:44pm Tuesday 7th August 2012 in Sport
NEWPORT’S Fred Evans became Wales’ first boxer to win an Olympic medal in 30 years as he edged past Custio Clayton by countback in the welterweight quarter-final to guarantee himself at least a bronze.
The night had begun in disappointing fashion as Barry flyweight Andrew Selby was comprehensively beaten by the outstanding Cuban Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana 16-11.
But Evans made up for that to become the fifth Team GB boxer to secure himself a place on the London 2012 podium, but he was so nearly made to pay for taking his foot off the gas.
After opening up a commanding 7-2 first round lead, Clayton cut that deficit to two heading into the last and at the end of the third the bout was scored level at 14-14, but Evans’ earlier work saw him home on countback. He will now face No 1 seed Taras Shelestyuk who overcame France’s Alexis Vastine on countback himself after the scores were tied 18-18.
Evans’ performance in the last round of his last-16 fight against Lithuania’s Egidijus Kavaliaus-kas was as good as any so far in this tournament and he maintained that tempo in the first.
The stocky Canadian’s front foot style played straight into Evans hands and every time Clayton came forward Evans picked him off with ease.
It was clear that Clayton wanted to fight up close but Evans’ hand and fight speed simply did not allow him to get anywhere near that comfort zone.
A strong flourish to the round, which included a strong right jab which snapped the Canadian’s head clean back, meant Evans’ enjoyed a commanding 7-2 lead.
Maybe a five-point lead created some complacency in Evans as Clayton was able to grow in confidence throughout the second as he started to get on the inside and connect with some big shots.
After it was scored 6-3 in the Canadian’s favour, Evans knew he could not afford too many risks in the last and tried to re-establish his jab while keeping Clayton at range.
However, Clayton was able to catch his faster opponent and at the bell several Canadians in the crowd start celebrating.
But they were premature as although both boxers lifted their hands in the air it was Evans whose arm was lifted by the referee to become the first Welshman since Ralph Evans in 1972 to win an Olympic medal.
Half an hour before Evans’ bout, Selby found Pan American champion Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana too classy an opponent going down 16-11.
- l Lloyds TSB, proud supporter of Team GB and proud partner of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Get closer to the Games at lloydstsb.com/london2012