NEWPORT’S Fred Evans pulled off the result of his career to defeat world champion Taras Shelestyuk 11-10 and book his place in Sunday's Olympic welterweight final.
After becoming the first Welshman since Ralph Evans in 1972 to win an Olympic medal, the 21-year-old is now guaranteed silver after a consummate display against the world No1.
Roared on by a capacity crowd Evans, who is based at the St Josephs Gym in the city, dominated the first two rounds and although Shelestyuk launched a desperate bid to haul himself back it was ultimately too little too late.
Evans had flattered to deceive in his previous two fights – absolutely scintillating in the first round against Custio Clayton and last round against Egidijus Kavaliauskas; absolutely suicidal in the last two against Clayton.
But having squeezed through that fight on countback and then surviving a Canadian appeal, Evans made a busy start.
Straight away he established his range and his radar started honing in on the red headguard of Shelestyuk.
Just as importantly, his footwork was keeping the Ukrainian at bay and, having landed some solid lefts, he finished the first with a commanding 4-1 lead.
No British fighter has attracted more vocal support at the ExCeL than Evans, no doubt helped by a strong Welsh contingent.
And, unlike against Clayton, there was no let-up in his work-rate in the second as he dictated the pace and landed a beautiful right to the body.
His jab was also working like a piston although Shelestyuk did start to have some joy of his own and the judges scored the round 4-4 which was somewhat harsh on the Welshman.
But he didn’t let his head drop and connected early on with a brilliant combination to the body.
Having boxed at such a furious pace, Evans did tire and Shelestyuk started landing with more ease but he did not do enough to pull it back as the roar at the final bell indicated.
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