Evans reaches Olympic welterweight final
August 10, 2012 22:58 pm
Fred Evans completed his irresistible march into the Olympic welterweight final with a superbly composed performance to see off reigning world champion and world number one Taras Shelestyuk at ExCeL.
Evans triumphed 11-10 after a compelling contest in which the 21-year-old, who is the first Welsh boxer to win a medal since flyweight Ralph Evans in Munich in 1972, built an early lead and swatted away the Ukrainian's inevitable late surge.
Evans joined Hull bantamweight Luke Campbell in booking a gold medal showdown after Campbell saw off Japan's Satoshi Shimizu 20-11 to ensure a final against old foe and family friend John Joe Nevin of Ireland.
But once again it was Evans, previously one of the more low-key members of the Great Britain squad, who was roared loudest by the capacity crowd as he closed in on a stunning end to his extraordinary Olympic journey.
Evans said: "I've been so long waiting for this moment. It's what all these years training away from home have been for. It's been so long that I just want to make it all pay off. I'm loving it, loving every minute.
"To beat the world champion is unbelievable. Every time I come in here the crowd gets louder and louder. In every round I'm boxing I can hear the crowd chanting my name and gives me that extra bit of a lift."
Cheered out by a crowd who have taken Evans to their heart since his all-action opening round win over Algeria's Ilyas Abbadi, Evans started in composed fashion, keeping the Ukrainian at range and darting in behind a flicking right jab.
Evans' cleaner work took the opener by three points and while Shelestyuk enjoyed a good second, it was still not enough to narrow the deficit heading into the last round of what was proving an intriguing contest.
The Ukrainian dug home late right hands to leave a distinctly uneasy atmosphere in ExCeL before the verdict was announced, sending Evans through to his Sunday final hot on the heels of earlier winner Campbell.
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