NEWPORT’S Olympic silver medallist Fred Evans has been tipped to become a world champion as a professional.
The 21-year-old amateur was beaten to welterweight gold by Khazakstan’s Serik Sapiyev at London 2012 on Sunday but is set to be flooded with lucrative offers to join the pro ranks.
And British super-featherweight champion Gary Buckland is certain that his St Josephs stablemate has what it takes to reach the very top of the sport.
Buckland and Evans are both part of Wales’ travelling community and the pair are cousins.
Speaking to the Argus ahead of his title defence against Stephen Foster Jr in Bolton on October 5, Buckland said Evans can expect a huge welcome when he returns to Wales this week.
“He was a bit flat in the final and maybe that was down to nerves but the guy he lost to is a tough fighter and he’s done Wales proud,” said Buckland.
“Gold would have been a bonus but silver is fantastic and better than any Welsh boxer has ever done before at the Olympics.
“And nobody has ever done it from the travelling community so he’s done brilliantly.
“He’s my distant cousin and I’m so happy for him, he’s done amazing.
“I didn’t get to go and see him because I’m in training for my next fight but I’m sure there will be a good party this week.”
Buckland is not sure if Evans will turn pro with trainer Tony Borg at St Joes but he knows that whatever he decides to do he will be a success.
“I’m sure he will get lots of offers to go pro now and I think he can become a world champion,” he said.
“He needs to sit down with his people and have a good think about what he wants to do but with a good promoter he can go all the way.
“He’s sparred with people like Carl Froch and held his own so that shows you how good he is.
“I was saying to Tony Borg this week that it used to be Cuba, Russia and the USA who dominated the boxing at the Olympics but, with Fred and guys like Luke Campbell and Anthony Joshua, Britain is right up there now.”
After a routine victory over Innocent Anyanwu in Newport last month, Buckland is now gearing up for the Foster Jr fight by sparring with some familiar names.
“I started training this week and I’m training three times a day so I couldn’t go and see Fred fight,” he added.
“I’m concentrating on being in the best shape I can be for October 5.
“It’s going really well so far. I’ve been down to Aldershot to spar with Carl Frampton and I’ll also be sparring with Lee Selby and Gavin Rees.
“Foster Jr is 5ft 6ins so I can’t really get much better preparation than that.”