It was the finest and rarest of nights at the Olympic boxing last night with wins for Fred Evans and Josh Taylor in two contrasting bouts that once again helped create a staggering atmosphere here.
Evans won easily to move closer to an Olympic medal and the chance of sweet revenge this Friday when he fights Lithuania's Egidijus Kavaliauskas in the last-16 round.
Under a tin roof at the ExCel, which was shaking as the thunder rumbled overhead, Evans picked his punches with ease to beat Algeria's Ilyas Abbadi 18-10 in the welterweight division. Abbadi was out of his depth and Evans did as he pleased in all three rounds.
"That was incredible walking in and hearing all the noise," said Evans, who is the youngest member of the team at 21, but he is also the reigning European champion having travelled to Ankara last year to become only the third British boxer since 1961 to win that title.
However, in October last year Evans was stopped by Kavaliauskas in the second round after walking on to a silly shot in the quarter-finals at the World Championships. Evans had won three fights before the sudden ending and the loss cost him a place in the world rankings, which meant he boxed yesterday instead of getting a bye until Friday, when he meets his well-rested rival once again.
Taylor fought beautifully for two rounds and was leading genuine medal hope Robson Conceicao going into the third. The Brazilian launched a round-long assault but Taylor stayed calm, moved and countered to win 13-9 in one of the tournament's shocks.
The tournament gets serious on Wednesday, with the last 16 of the super-heavyweights, and Anthony Joshua fights. "I'm just waiting, relaxing and getting ready," said Joshua, who meets Cuban Erislandy Savon.Reuse content