2021 will be dominated by the rescheduled Olympic Games. But next year will see the Commonwealth Games come to Birmingham. For some boxers that is already their primary target. Rising Welsh middleweight Taylor Bevan boxed in his first senior tournaments last year and is looking to make a mark at Birmingham 2022.
“I’ve been on the full time programme in Wales probably two and a half to three years now, it’s a four year cycle till the Commonwealths. I think it’s just under 500 days to the Birmingham one now. That’s my main focus at the moment. Obviously there’ll be tournaments leading up to it but my main goal is to box at the Commonwealth Games and hopefully get a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games,” Bevan said. “It’ll be brilliant in Birmingham, it’ll be lovely to get my family, friends and supporters, they’ll all travel up so it’ll be really good.”
He had his introduction to senior elite boxing last year. “The first one was in Finland, that Gee Bee tournament, I had two fights in that, I won the first one, then lost the second one to a French boxer [Moreno Fendero] and then the second tournament was the Box Am out in Spain, I lost to the Spanish lad [Miguel Cuadrado] who won the tournament so I had quite a tough draw. It was a really close fight that one, it could have gone either way,” he said. “I haven’t found them much different [to youth competition], the only difference is the headguard come off. I quite like it without headguards so that’s better for me. With the seniors the opponents are a bit more mature, have a bit more man-strength but that hasn’t really bothered me too much. I’ve fitted in to it quite well.
“I’m more of a come-forward boxer, a come-forward counter-boxer, but leading off, trying to counter. I find it easier without a headguard because your vision’s a bit more clear, you can slip the punches a bit better because you haven’t got the headguard round your head. The only thing is you do feel the punches a bit more. But when you’re in there, the adrenalin’s going, you don’t really feel it.”
“I’ve always sparred seniors anyway,” he added. “You spar against seniors and you get used to the power and the experience.”
Through the pandemic shutdown and despite the frustrations of other tournaments being cancelled, he has been training with the full time Welsh programme under head coach Colin Jones. “Colin’s a brilliant coach, he’s got loads of experience. He’s run the programme for a long time so it’s great to have him as a coach and learn off of him and he’s obviously done it all himself,” Bevan says.
“I feel really proud to box for Wales, I’ve got a lot of family who are Welsh and I’m half Welsh, really proud to box for my country.
“The 2024 Olympic Games in Paris is the dream but I’m focused on the Commonwealth Games at the moment and see where it goes after that.”