They misplaced and received at so many main tournaments, cheering one another on the World championships in Baku, the London Olympics, at troublesome occasions in a dozen unusual lands. And now additionally they share the combined venues that brutally separate the ambitions of skilled boxers higher than the fists of males.
Last Saturday at a leisure centre in Newport, Fred Evans misplaced for the primary time in six skilled fights and this Saturday, in a glittering and deserved homecoming, unbeaten Josh Taylor will stride to the ring in Glasgow as half of the profitable World Boxing Super Series. They are each 27, as soon as lodged collectively in international cities and now appear like males working in different sporting worlds.
In Baku, in late 2011, Evans was seeded, the reigning European newbie champion and received 4 occasions earlier than shedding in the quarterfinals; Taylor misplaced his opening struggle. Nine months later, on the London Olympics, Taylor received and misplaced, falling approach brief of the medals, however Evans reached the ultimate in type.
He was the quiet traveller boy from Wales, gently making historical past once more; in 2011 in Turkey, he, alongside Andrew Selby, had been the primary Welshmen in 86 years to win the European newbie title – solely two English boxers have received that individual gold since 1961.
In the welterweight ultimate on the Olympics Evans misplaced on factors to Kazakhstan’s Serik Sapiyev; Sapiyev received the Val Barker award for one of the best boxer on the Games, a combating dream to look at. Evans received a uncommon silver medal, was feted, chased and supplied nice riches on the money carnival that adopted the Games when a celebration of shameless hawkers stalked the corridors with luggage of coin.
Evans resisted and retreated as the opposite medalists, Anthony Joshua, Luke Campbell and Anthony Ogogo, signed skilled contracts with respected operators. Taylor slipped away from London along with his younger eyes firmly on the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, his dwelling. Evans simply slipped away, vanished and then the wayward tales began.
In early 2014 Evans was concerned in a scuffle in a bathroom at a lap-dancing membership in Birmingham when a person misplaced consciousness and a tooth. Evans was fined, not sentenced, however a number of months later he was turned away from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow as a result of of the assault cost. It appeared harsh, two of his Olympic boxing squad buddies had beforehand served custodial sentences, however nonetheless fought in London.
Evans vanished once more, by no means travelled to Glasgow to witness Taylor’s brilliance as he justified the religion of a nation, to not point out a thousand publicity stunts in a kilt, to win gold.
Taylor had the affords and settled on Clan McGuigan – ex-fighter Barry, his son, Shane, who does the coaching – and It has been an amazing journey thus far with 13 wins, exhausting fights and a real world rating in an typically comically pliable enterprise the place Tupperware would go for Teflon. This Saturday, in the WBSS quarter-final, he meets American Ryan Martin, unbeaten in 22 and the newest actual take a look at for Taylor. It is a dangerous struggle.
The rumours about Evans circled the boxing village, sightings of the silver-medal child carrying loads of weight, carrying bricks on a constructing website, driving quick in the Newport night time. A couple of boxing folks claimed to have him in the fitness center, beneath management and all the time wanting higher than ever, however he remained misplaced; one other Olympic cycle got here and went and extra hopefuls signed and sealed their futures.
Evans was gone, the dear money in his silver medal diminishing as quick because the reminiscence of his ultimate towards the mighty Sapiyev. “Where is Evans?” Sapiyev requested me in Rio. I had no thought, I informed him. “He is good fighter,” he added. I agreed.
And then final May, Evans, gliding gently beneath the radar, fought for the primary time as knowledgeable; he received, then received his subsequent 4 earlier than getting into the ring on the Newport Centre final Saturday. He was a stone heavier than he had been on the Olympics, seemed like he lacked need, believing the struggle could be easy and he had even talked boldly of a British title struggle subsequent 12 months.
It went badly fallacious and Ryan Toms, who had received simply 15 of his 33 fights, dropped Evans twice and stopped him in spherical two.
At ringside, in the nook and in a budget seats no one had a solution for the despair. It is, some reasoned with a weary shrug, simply the best way boxing works and that’s about as scientific because it will get in a enterprise of unknowns, unhealthy luck and mavericks. Evans could be again, Taylor will hold successful and the land separating them will change into as treacherous as a poisonous pond for both of them to cross.
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