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Page last updated at 14:31 GMT, Friday, 6 August 2010 15:31 UK

Delhi Dreams: Andrew Selby & Fred Evans

By Steffan Garrero
Sport Wales

Delhi Dreams: Andrew Selby & Fred Evans

When you're an elite-level sportsman there is always pressure.

Pressure to perform to your potential.

Pressure to provide vindication for those who've invested in you, financially and emotionally.

Pressure to impress team-mates and those who have gone before you.

Sometimes it's just too much.

"My mum's coming to watch me for the first time," says Andrew Selby. "She's never been to see me box before... doesn't like seeing her boy get hit."

Selby is dressed in his Great Britain tracksuit, standing in front of the ring in an empty Cardiff International Arena.

Andrew Selby (red) takes on Jiwal Zhang
Wales' Andrew Selby (red) takes on China's Jiwal Zhang

He's twitchy and nervous. He doesn't like doing TV interviews. Selby has enough on his plate tonight.

The bantamweight from Barry is boxing in front of a hometown crowd, including his mother, against a man billed as "China's second-best boxer", Jiwal Zhang.

Oh yeah, Vitali Klitschko and Roberto Duran are ringside too.

Now that's pressure.

Fred Evans is from seven miles up the road in St Mellons.

He's also part of the Great Britain boxing team who are taking on the Rest of the World tonight.

It's part of their build-up to the Olympics in 2012 and also a big work-out ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in October.

The boxing legends are in Cardiff for the WBC's three-day boxing extravaganza culminating in the Night of Champions event.

This Welsh guy is pretty good... I'm getting a bit worried about our guy

Ex-WBO world heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs

Evans is taking on the national champion of the United States, Errol Spence.

"I've seen a couple of bits of him fight on 'You Tube'," said Evans. "He's pretty good isn't he? It'll probably be my toughest bout so far."

Evans will be travelling to Delhi in October in a more confident mood.

He won the Commonwealth Federations title in India earlier this year and will face no-one of the class he faces tonight.

For Selby it's a similar story. He won a European bronze medal in June to go with his bronze from the Commonwealth Federation championships.

"Both of them are medal prospects in Delhi," says Team GB performance director Robert McCracken. "They should do Wales proud out there."

On this night they wear the red of Great Britain and under the spotlight they find the pressure - and the quality of their opponents - too tough to handle.

Fred Evans (left) loses a high-quality encounter against Errol Spence
Fred Evans (left) loses a high-quality encounter against Errol Spence

Selby seems to get carried away in front of the home fans and loses 16 points to 11 to Jiawei.

"I was trying to impress the crowd too much and it cost me," he said.

"I didn't stick to the game-plan at all... I'm gutted... that was my worst performance ever."

Evans goes down 15-9 to the American Spence, but does enough to impress the professionals at ringside.

"This Welsh guy is pretty good," confides former WBO heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs midway through round two.

"He's only a couple of points behind. I'm getting a bit worried about our guy," added the New Yorker.

Selby and Evans have two full years to get themselves up to a world-class level in time for the London Olympics.

They head into the Commonwealth Games as the best Welsh hopes for boxing medals.

How they cope with that pressure will tell us much about their big-tournament potential.

*See more on Sport Wales on BBC TWO Wales, Friday, 6 August, 1900-1930 BST



see also
Sport Wales: The TV Programme
15 Mar 11 |  Wales
Commonwealth Team Wales 2010
15 Oct 10 |  Wales
Welshmen Selby & Evans defeated
30 Jul 10 |  Boxing
GB boxers clinch five Euro medals
09 Jun 10 |  Boxing
GB boxers praise coach McCracken
17 Jun 10 |  Boxing
Get your gloves on
13 Dec 05 |  Get Involved
Country profile: India
31 Mar 11 |  Country profiles
Classic Sport Wales
26 Jul 10 |  Wales
Follow Sport Wales' tweets
04 Mar 10 |  Wales
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales


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