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In his biggest film role since becoming an actor, Christopher Evangelou’s name could easily have gotten lost in a who’s who cast of A-listers in The Gentlemen. Director Guy Ritchie’s all-star ensemble—starring Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Colin Farrell, and Hugh Grant—could’ve made most cinema cubs a bit nervous, but after Ritchie, a BJJ black belt himself, recognized the former International welterweight champion, it made the big-screen filming experience much smoother.
“[Ritchie] came over to me, and we started talking about fighting,” Evangelou says. “He knew who I was, so there never was any awkward moments.” The Gentlemen is about a British drug lord who tries to sell off his empire to a dynasty of Oklahoma billionaires. In the film, Evangelou plays “Primetime,” a scrappy, gangster-type fella. “He’s kind of a gypsy street fighter,” he says. “He has kind of that Tyson Fury type of dialect.”
Evangelou may be new to the silver screen, but he’s no newb in the world of combat. He holds a pro record of 13–3 and headlined a fight card at London’s Wembley Stadium in 2013, a year before he won the British welterweight title. While champion, Evangelou, who also wrote and starred in the short film Shadow Boxer (written by Evangelou, co-produced by David Hepburn, directed by Ross McGowan, and screenplay by Craig McDonald-Kelly) received a surprise call from the handlers of legend Floyd Mayweather, who wanted him to fly to Las Vegas to help with sparring—and to possibly take his boxing career stateside.
“It would’ve been huge,” Evangelou says. However, he was training with a broken hand, and it became severely damaged during the sparring session. As a result, he was forced to retire. That’s when he shifted his focus to acting.
“It worked out well in the end,” he says. While Evangelou still works as a boxing instructor in London, his training nowadays centers more on bodybuilding. He proudly says he’s leg pressing more than 1,000 pounds. “I make sure to take the day off before leg day,” he says. “It’s brutal.”
Weighing at 176 pounds, Evangelou says he’s leg pressing more than 1,000 pounds thanks to this leg workout.
DIRECTIONS: Evangelou says to keep the reps and sets the same, but increase the weight with each set.