Evangelou: Domestically i'm the best in Britain
Brotherly love is more apparent than ever before in boxing. A host of siblings from the Klitschkos to the Petersons can call on each other in times of crisis inside and outside the ring. And whilst Chris Evangelou 9-0(1) can lean on big brother Andreas to be his rock, ‘The Flash’ is keen to be a similar dependant for others.
“I want to be a rock for someone else, that’s what I’ve always wanted,” he explained to Livefight.com.
“So many times in my life I’ve had no-one to talk to but I could always turn to my brother. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be the boxer, the man that I am today.”
“What I want to do is help people,” he continued.
“If I’m in a shop and someone is short of money to pay for something I’ll ask how much do they need and I’ll help. I want to put myself in this position. I’ve had hard times and my father reminds me of this – I want to do something meaningful.”
Articulate and level headed, Evangelou is an accurate portrayal of the model professional. When we spoke he was en route to a meeting with his promoters, Matchroom Boxing, as the 24-year old is keen to hit the accelerator on his career in 2012 and hopes the recent frustrations of initial six round contests being put back to four are at an end.
“It’s certainly been no fault of my own. They’ve been scheduled six and whether it’s down to television or timing it’s always been a last minute decision going back down to four. It’s very frustrating when you train for the longer rounds. Hopefully my next fight will be six rounds minimum, possibly eight. I don’t want to jump into a ten rounder just now, I could, but mentally I wouldn’t want to,” he admitted.
Evangelou agrees that his own eagerness to pursue titles too quickly has perhaps halted his own progress and disappointed his ever growing fan base in London. Now there is an increased pressure on inexperienced shoulders to deliver to his followers, but a title shot or at the very least a greater reputation is the main aim for next year in a domestic division currently headed by Ashley Theophane. And despite some critical reviews in the champion’s performance last Saturday night against late replacement Ben Murphy, respect is on the table from Evangelou.
“I’ve sparred with Ashley and he’s rated where he is for a reason, but I do think he’s above British standard. He had a bad night but a change of opponent is quite challenging because it can put you off in so many ways no matter who he is. I believe myself that I am the best domestically in Britain. I think I can take on anyone in the country and by the end of 2012 I hope to have gotten a British title shot but I have to get myself on the ladder.”
“I have to get my name out there strategically and start becoming a household name. This will be the defining year for my career. It’ll tell me whether I’m going to go the full way or become a domestic fighter.”
And in a sport full of ifs, buts and maybes it all could have been so different for the Londoner. Eight years ago a decision was made to pursue boxing and that choice put paid to an acting career that Evangelou was developing through academic routes.
“I wanted to get into the film industry because it’d be too easy to basically play myself in something like Eastenders.”
Dreams of the silver screen may be on hold but an aspiration to conquer Hollywood still sparkles in his voice should his own dreams in the ring not pan out.
The American dream was briefly tasted however with interest from Freddie Roach during a period as to whom Evangelou would work with as a pro. A stint at the Wildcard gym was not his only taste of boxing royalty. Having spent time in Manchester with the Hatton camp, the choice to turn professional would be taken with Joe Calzaghe in 2009. But in a honeymoon period that was over before it started a DVD would then be sent to Matchroom Boxing and a deal was struck much to the happiness of all involved.
“Going to the Wildcard was like being trained by Alex Ferguson every day,” he recalled.
“I don’t really know what happened with the Calzaghes, they were very hospitable and I had a great experience with them. But being signed with Matchroom keeps me close to home, close to my family and they (Matchoom) are very professional in what they do, they’re so experienced and having spoke with Barry Hearn I know he’s keen to get me a title shot soon.”
Like all the other stable mates of Carl Froch, Saturday night will be essential viewing for Chris Evangelou as he and the rest of the British boxing fraternity hope to see ‘The Cobra’ be crowned unified super-middleweight champion and winner of the inaugural Super Six tournament. And after the much debated defeat suffered by Amir Khan at the weekend, a win from Froch would confirm for Evangelou his status as British boxing’s leading man.
“Froch can lead the way if he wins this fight. For a long time he’s fought big, big names only losing one to (Mikkel) Kessler. He’ll lead the way after Khan’s loss.”
“Regarding Khan I think too many cooks spoil the broth for him. You want a select amount of people around you otherwise you’ll have too many wanting to make decisions for you, that brings confusion and you yourself end up making rash decisions. I think you can have too big an entourage and I think Amir Khan has that problem.”
“As for the Froch-Ward fight, it’s such a big fight that I think some people have forgotten it was tournament in the first place. I don’t think the super six has worked out the way the promoters and television companies hoped it would. I haven’t seen enough of Andre Ward to make a specific decision but I was very surprised the way Carl dismantled Arthur Abraham though, how he stopped him from fighting and actually used the boxing skills he has. If he goes in there with a game plan to rough up Ward and take him to the later rounds I think he can do it. In boxing I can’t afford to be biased thought because it puts my own credibility on the line (laughs).”
Maturity is a word you can instantly associate with Chris Evangelou when you spend time talking to him. It is an aspect of his character that has developed throughout his career in boxing, he drops subtle hints about what might have been should he not have found the discipline and escape route that the sport provided all those years ago. And even though hindsight is often something best not discussed, that doesn’t stop the unbeaten prospect from thinking back to a time when he was looking for something to arguably save himself from.
“A lot of stuff happened in my life such as family problems and I needed something to escape into. I needed something that controlled my thoughts, anger, nerves and anxiety as I was growing up through my teenage years. If I hadn’t found boxing I honestly wouldn’t be the man that I am today, it has matured me so well. I don’t think I would’ve established myself in the ways that I have today. I want to be the best, the perfect boxer that I know I can be.”