PUBLIC VOTE TO END EVANS INJUSTICE

PUBLIC VOTE TO END EVANS INJUSTICE

Wales is the most parochial place in the world but the decision of squad selectors to snub Kevin Evan has unified people from all over the principality. The voice of the people disagree with the disgraceful decision and support BoxingWales‘ #YESFORKEV campaign. 600 people from all over the United Kingdom have visited BoxingWales to answer our question, “Should the Welsh Boxing squad selectors send Kevin Evans to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow?” They answered ‘YES’, unanimously, in the biggest mass criticism of the Welsh Boxing organisation ever. Welsh Boxing, the governors of the amateur code in Wales who were formally known as the Welsh Amateur Boxing Association (WABA), have been contacted and BoxingWales have put across the views of the people. We have also contacted Evans’ local Member of Parliament and Assembly Member, requesting their support for one of Wales’ most positive role models for people of all ages. It must be noted that we aren’t representing Kevin Evans at his request. Evans is proud and a man of principle, he told BoxingWales that he won’t “beg” to represent the country who he has given so much service to. However, we want to repay the memories Evans has given us by doing our best to see him set a record of attending five Commonwealth Games. Evans arrived on the international scene in 1998 with a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Malaysia. A year later, Evans became the first British boxer to win a medal in the World Championships with a bronze. It could have been at least a silver if it wasn’t for Cuba’s sublime Felix Savon. Evans led until the final round in Houston but the corner threw the towel in a minute from the final bell. Three years later, Manchester hosted the Commonwealth Games and Evans returned to win another bronze and he went one better four years later, taking a silver at the Commonwealth Games in Australia. Evans has also beaten David Price, Dereck Chisora and Sam Sexton in his amateur career who all went on to win professional titles. Tony Borg, a man of few but wise words, made the suggestion that not only should Evans be one of the first names on the list but also be named as Team Captain. It was a notion former National Head Coach Tony Williams agreed with, having previously selected Evans as his captain for his Welsh squads. There are untold advantages that Evans’ appearance in the squad would bring and would offer a range of qualities to help his team mates. Chris Turley, father of Robbie, noted how Evans’ leadership held guide his son and the other younger peers of the 2006 Commonwealth Games squad. It’s not as if Evans should be picked for the games on sentimental grounds though, he should actually be there on merit having won a record equalling tenth Welsh senior title last month. Now aged 37, it’s unrealistic to expect any athlete to be the same but in his two wins (Jarred Davies PTS, Aled Diplock TKO3) in this year’s Welsh Championships, Evans showed a different side to his game. Evans picked his shots while conserving his energy, no doubt some of those tricks will have be learned through his coaching at the Prizefighter Boxing Club in Carmarthen. What’s worse, Welsh Boxing aren’t planning to take any super-heavyweight at all! The place is going to waste even though Evans the experience and ability to give him a genuine chance of reaching the medal stage, especially as not many boxers are entered in to the Commonwealth Games super-heavyweight division. It’s a cliche but true that anything can happen with super-heavyweight punches, one of them can change it all. If you didn’t think the situation couldn’t be more unfair, there are several more issues where the Welsh Boxing suits have wronged Evans who wasn’t even worth a phone call. Instead, Evans was blanked and forced to phone the selectors to find out his fate. It was the same for female boxer Lynsey Holdaway, both deserve a hell of a lot more respect from Welsh Boxing and they’ve earned it while representing Wales on the international stage. National Head Coach Colin Jones and Performance Director James Thomas, whose experience in sport until 2011 came from wheelchair rugby, should know better than to blank and snub the boxers who haven’t been picked. In the brief conversation Evans had with Welsh Boxing, where they informed him of the injustice, he was given no real reason for his omission but many suspect that it may be funding. However, Evans is prepared to fund himself and surely the people of Wales would be willing to help too – even though Welsh Boxing will have the money to fund his spot. It still bemuses every observer that heads didn’t roll when tens of thousands of publicly funded pounds went missing in the corridors of Welsh Boxing. To paraphrase, the audit report said that it couldn’t be satisfied that fraud hadn’t occurred. The people are disillusioned with the suits at Welsh Boxing and this latest disgrace is the tip of the iceberg. Endorsements of the #YESFORKEV campaign have swarmed him from people at all levels of boxing, including; Lee Selby, Dale Evans, Tony Borg, Frankie Borg, Gary Lockett, Chris Jenkins, Barry Jones, Frankie Gavin, Carl Frampton, Kenny Egan, Jamie Conlan, Paddy Barnes, Neil Perkins and many more. You may notice an absence of key figures in Welsh amateur boxing, there’s a reason for that. BoxingWales have been privately contacted by various figures from the amateur scene in our country, who have said that they can’t have an opinion for fear of disciplinary measures from Welsh Boxing. The message is clear; there are no rooms for non-establishment opinions under the Welsh Boxing banner. For the good of the sport and it’s boxers, who are the most important people in all of this, it needs to change. The Performance Commission met on April 3rd to select the Commonwealth Games squad and it’s due to be announced on April 17th, hopefully the #YESFORKEV campaign will have made an impact by then. Dewi Powell BoxingWales Editor 

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