Frazer Clarke: Next British Heavyweight Boxing World Champion?

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Burton upon Trent’s 6’6″ boxing goliath, Frazer Clarke, wasn’t always the laid-back character that can be found trolling fighters on social media. In fact, the former Olympic bronze medalist may have never seen the day he entered the professional ranks had the trajectory of a knife angled by just a fraction.

Clarke was snubbed by Team GB selectors ahead of London 2012 and Rio 2016 in favour of Anthony Joshua and Joe Joyce respectively. The undefeated four-fight professional boasts a long and decorated amateur career, peaking with his Olympic bronze, but it is likely to have stung to tread water in the amateurs into his 30s.

The emotional turmoil of back-to-back rejections can derail even the most determined prospects. Clarke admitted as much to iNews, recalling the 2016 pub fight turned knife attack that had left the Staffordshire man with stab wounds to the neck and leg.

Mounting a redemption arc, gold seemed a fitting fairytale ending for the so-often sidelined man, yet in a final cruel twist, a deep cut above his eye ended his semi-final battle with Bakhodir Jalolov.   

To spend nearly a decade in the waiting room for his chance only to be snubbed by an unfortunate clash of heads, would be justification enough to pack the sport in entirely and settle into his cosier part-time role as ringside security.

Like many great boxing stories, the Team GB captain proved to be made of much sterner material. After dipping his toes into the professional ranks and collecting four victories over 2022, Clarke sits amongst the top British prospects in a Heavyweight division littered with money fights upon every step on the ladder.

Frazer Clarke: The Story so Far

Big Fraze signed his debut professional contract with BOXXER in December 2021, just six months after the promotion had wrapped up a four-year deal with the global broadcaster, Sky Sports.

Two months later, Clarke entered the ring at Manchester Arena on the Amir Khan vs Kell Brook undercard. Jake Darnell received the unfortunate call-up. A fellow professional debutant, Darnell had been plucked out of the crowd at the public workout just days before the event. 

54 seconds was all it took to dispatch the doughy Blackpudlian bareknuckle fighter. A true match-making head-scratcher considering Frazer Clarke had collected the scalps of Guido Vianello and Tony Yoka during his amateur days.

Five months later, Ariel Estaban Bracamonte emerged as Clarke’s next dance partner at Bournemouth International Centre. The Argentinian’s 11-8 record, which included five defeats by stoppage, hardly inspired on paper. Hardcore fans, however, were quick to recognise the career away fighter who put in gutsy performances against David Allen, Demsey McKean and Jarrell Miller. 

Bracamonte set about his work in typical fashion with his jaunty pressure and threatening overhands. Clarke ate a looping right hand almost as soon as the bell had commenced the contest, yet it would prove the only blemish throughout the two rounds.

Utilising slight lateral shifts off the back foot, Clarke masked the natural bend and explosion of his left hook to the body. The Brit remained patient as he peppered the fat around the South American’s sides and forced him to drop his guard. With ten seconds left in the second round, Clarke moved from body to chin, stunning Bracamonte and knocking him into the ropes.

After a stellar showing, Clarke was on the road again just 35 days later. Undefeated Bulgarian, Pencho Tsvetkov, represented the next hurdle for Clarke under the lights of the Echo Arena in Liverpool.

Tsvetko’s seven wins of dubious quality were exposed immediately into the affair. The Bulgarian cut a figure more fitting of a Middleweight, sacrificing four-stone to Clarke as he was knocked down twice before being stopped in the opening round. The debacle left Clarke apologising in his post-fight interview.

A couple more months down the line and Clarke had put the naysayers to bed with a clean sweep on the cards against Britain’s biggest banana skin, Kamil Sokolowski. Despite losing his 100% knockout ratio, Clarke gained valuable experience in the professional ranks – a necessity considering the haste with which the long-time amateur must climb the ladder.

World Title Pathway

After four fights of vastly fluctuating quality, Frazer Clarke currently sits ranked as Boxrec’s #10 British Heavyweight and with little else to show. As such, there are two realistic paths for the former Olympian to take.

Firstly, and perhaps most common for Olympian-turned-pros, is the end goal of a world title shot. Late bloomers are rarely rewarded in a young man’s sport, yet Heavyweight is the kindest division for a fighter to reach the top during their career twilight.

Clarke is yet to be tested in the professional ranks at any sort of calibre to suggest he is capable of spoiling the duopoly of Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk. Crazy things happen in this sport, however.

Clearing out a fading domestic name has to be scheduled near the end of the year. Nathan Gorman has struggled with issues outside of the ring after hitting a ceiling against Daniel Dubois, representing a solid step-up. Better yet, overblown Cruiserweight Jack Massey could be primed for the taking after what promises to be a bruising affair with Joseph Parker. 

The stakes would have to be raised to the European level if Clarke is to wet his feet briefly before embracing the top dogs. Adam Kownacki is sitting on a three-fight slide, but the Pole holds name value over in the States. Alternatively, Carlos Takam represents a weathered yet stern stepping block. 

At this point in the timeline, the belts will hopefully have been wrapped up in a unification bout between Fury and Usyk. Knowing heavyweight boxing, however, it’s just as likely the belts have been divided out due to irrational mandatory regulations. Either way, the chips are stacked for Clarke against any of this generation’s ‘Four Kings’ (Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk, Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder).

Cash-cow ‘Smash and Grab’

With the decrepit speed at which bouts are organised across boxing, the veteran 31-year-old may instead pragmatically choose a career of big-money fights. If Clarke and BOXXER are willing to sell the 2020 Olympian as an international B-side, promising and winnable fights appear on the horizon.

Due to his amateur pedigree, Clarke doesn’t need to pad his record to clamour for a solid domestic clash. The fan favourite, David Allen, is determined to return to the ring for a shot at the British Title. The White Rhino puts bums on seats and would carry much of the load during the build-up to an entertaining domestic clash. If Fabio Wardley chooses to remain at the British level to defend his title, however, the Ipswich man represents sterner opposition for a similar financial draw.

Jarrell Miller has a very tainted past with his use of PEDs, yet, the American’s brash personality tends to drum up imposing numbers ahead of his fights. Big Baby must be considered an easily marketable Atlantic rivalry with a fighter who can produce much of the theatrics during press conferences.

By this point, Clarke would possess enough credit to challenge all but the elite in the sport. Perfectly timed to meet his old amateur foe, Joe Joyce, for a WBA Regular belt or some other organisational gimmick. Having lost four times to Joyce in the unpaid ranks, it presents a sellable ‘happily ever after’ for two former Team GB Olympians. If the fight is a close affair, there’s no reason that the pair cannot squeeze out a rematch or trilogy for more commanding purses.

Whichever path Frazer Clarke ends up taking, his presence in the sport serves only to offer intriguing fights in 2023 and onwards. 

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