Frazer Clarke has epitomized the phrase “never give up” throughout his boxing career and now finds himself one month away from realizing his dream.
The 30-year-old has been signed by rising promotion BOXXER and will make his Sky Sports broadcast debut on the outstanding undercard of Amir Khan’s clash with Kell Brook.
But Clarke has had a bumpy ride throughout his life to get to this point after being caught up in the Westminster terror attack in 2017.
He was also the victim of a knife attack the previous year, but did not allow any of these incidents to deter him from pursuing his goals.
He recently completed his run at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by winning bronze while leading the British team to an impressive medal haul.
Now, after being out of the ring as a security guard for so long, Clarke can finally emulate the footsteps of Joe Joyce and Anthony Joshua and compete beyond the ropes as a professional for the first time.
“Lovely place, small place, I know everyone and have always known everyone. I had wonderful parents,” says Clarke Battle Mirror to grow up at Burton. “They worked so hard.
“At the weekends I was traveling with my friends or going to the pub with my mum and dad. Just a normal upbringing which I can’t give enough thanks to my mum and dad for working hard, I don’t I’ve never been without it and I’ve never been spoiled just somewhere in between.
“My mum and dad taught me values early on and I can’t thank them enough.”
Clarke took his first steps towards becoming a boxer when he visited a local gymnasium at the age of 11.
At the time, he didn’t know why he wanted to get in the ring, but he quickly discovered his passion after trying so many other sports.
“I was fat. I tried every sport growing up, had a great group of friends, most of them were good at football,” Clarke continued. “Because I was a big boy I was pushed into rugby and tried everything but couldn’t find anything that clicked with me.
“But the difference was with boxing that within a week I knew it was going to be something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
“It’s a bit cliché when you say it, but I fell in love with the sport the second I started watching it and doing it. After removing the skin from your hands using a small pair of gloves sweaty.
“It was the confidence that it gave me because it was the number one thing I was good at and I was better for a few other people. So it was the confidence that it gave me that gave me that. really helped me to excel and enjoy the sport from the start.”
Clarke was often greeted as a hero on his return to his beloved hometown, including after his recent success in Tokyo where he was greeted by hundreds of fans in his local pub and on the streets.
He spoke publicly about several idols he had growing up, including Muhammad Ali, but none were as important to him as his family, especially his grandparents.
Clarke also recalled watching a Mike Tyson fight with his friends early in his growth and his interest was immediately piqued by the legendary heavyweight.
“My family had a huge influence on me growing up,” Clarke said. “My grandfather always worked on the farm and I used to go to the farm with my grandfather when I was young.
“My grandparents were the loves of my life and a huge inspiration to me. I could be the worst at whatever happened last on a sports day or whatever and they would always be so proud My parents are hard working and always inspired me, and my older brother was a keen footballer, so I always looked up to him growing up.
“My younger sister is also thriving, so we’ve always had this strong family unit and supported each other. Obviously I started watching boxing and stuff, but at first I went to a friend’s house because that it had Sky Sports and we didn’t make it on time.
“Mike Tyson boxed and I remember being absolutely fascinated by it. People in town too, my first trainer Richard Joyce and ex-gym pro Neville Brown were a big influence on me.”
Clarke had a sensational amateur career with his first fight in a social club before working throughout the scene, including the Commonwealth Games and World Championships.
Although he faced several obstacles on his journey, including being forced to wait behind Joyce to lead Team GB in the heavyweight division, Clarke’s challenge continued.
He had already decided early in his childhood that he wouldn’t quit until boxing became a full-time vocation, testing engineering through a joyless apprenticeship and college.
“As I say, my parents work hard, so the biggest thing for me was finding a job,” Clarke continued.
“I know a lot of people stress the importance of education, but I came from a working-class town, so it was important to get a trade as an electrician, bricklayer, plumber or something like that.
“But I ended up going into engineering, like machining and fabrication, and I didn’t like it. I only did it to keep my parents away at the time! Then I got an apprenticeship and went to college, but I was doing something I didn’t like.
“But then when the opportunity came up to box full time for me, it was a no-brainer. I knew we were going to do it straight away and I had secret goals in mind for what I wanted. accomplish.”
Clarke will likely seek advice from his friend Joshua, who became a two-time heavyweight champion during his career.
Despite his stable upbringing, Clarke lacked confidence during his student years and found comfortable cover in boxing.
And even though his mother and grandmother were skeptical of his plans in the sport, Clarke knew he had the support of his family to pursue his dreams.
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“My dad is a fighter and my brother has always been a good fighter so they were always supportive of my early boxing career. My mom was definitely worried at first and so was my grandma but they were always supportive .
“I’m not sure they knew the level I wanted to reach at the start and thought it was a hobby and was going to die out.
“I think the first time they knew how far it was going was after the Commonwealth Games in 2018 and they were like ‘wow, that’s good, he’s representing the country, he’s a big problem’.
“No, I never would have believed it now because I had no confidence when I was growing up. It wasn’t until the years went by that I started doing more and you started to believe in you slowly.”
Clarke is currently with her longtime partner Danni-Leigh Robinson who has also had a big impact on her life.
He opened up on celebrities who were particularly important to his life growing up, including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and David Jason from the sitcom Only Fools and Horses.
However, his partner was seen poking fun at his heroes, even admitting he found it hard to believe wrestling wasn’t real until he was 25.
“Dwayne the Rock Johnson, I wanted to be him growing up. My wife even takes mickey now because I always watch it and walk around calling people ‘Jabroni’ and stuff!” Clarke laughed.
“Charismatic and high energy and I was probably only 25 when I found out wrestling wasn’t real, I believed it until then to be honest!
“Muhammad Ali is huge to me. I love these kind of charismatic, non-conformist people. I’m a fan of Only Fools and Horses, so David Jason ‘Del Boy’ was a huge inspiration to me.”
Clarke awaits the official announcement of an opponent for his debut which will take place next month in front of a bumper crowd in Manchester.
Promoter Ben Shalom spoke of his plans to seek a world title for his charge at the age of 35, which Clarke supported.
And the now 30-year-old is “excited” and “nervous” to start his journey but will channel his big-stage experience to bring more success in the professional ranks.
“I was the kid who wasn’t supposed to excel at sports,” Clarke concluded. “But now I’m preparing for my debut which is live on Sky Sports on a huge card. It’s all a bonus for me. I know my goals and where I want to be.
“I’m excited and nervous the same way I was going to all those big occasions, going to the Commonwealth Games, the European Championships, even the first fight at the social club when I was a kid. The butterfly nerves but I going to use it all in the right way.”
Frazer Clarke features on Amir Khan’s undercard against Kell Brook live on Sky Sports Box Office