Frazer Clarke has been outside for the past 12 years, looking inward. Always full of hope, occasionally desperate, his willpower never compromised.
He missed two Olympic qualifying games and was forced to gritted his teeth to watch Anthony Joshua win the gold medal in London in 2012, and then Joe Joyce was controversially limited to the silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
He was stabbed three times and was helpless when he was involved in the Westminster terrorist attack-so close that he saw the perpetrator killed by the police.
During his tenure as a security guard, he looked eagerly at the ring, watched the heavyweight game and thought: “I can beat that man.”
Finally, it was time for Clark to revel in the spotlight he had chased for more than a decade. The feel-good story of the British 11-man boxer travel team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the captain is super heavyweight Clark, who will fight for the gold medal in the third (and final) attempt.
“It’s been a long time,” he told Sky Sports shyly, correcting himself while trying to describe the emotion politely. “Happiness is a word I can use to describe it!”
He once said that sometimes Rob McCracken, the acting director of the British team, had to personally fight for Clark to stay with him, and he never seemed to be able to realize his potential.
“If you don’t know my story? Please, work hard and things will happen to you,” Clark said.
He takes his role seriously and sets an example for others.
“You must be consistent. Keep working hard. Believe in yourself and let yourself be with good people. It is not the end until the end. This is the message I want to give young people—sometimes you fail in the first level, but you can Get a backup and go again.
“I lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. I wanted this for a long time, and I made the pressure more and more stressful. This journey is like a snake and a ladder, with ups and downs.
“When I am not focused, GB Boxing keeps me focused.
“I am mature now. I understand what is needed outside the ring.”
Clark likes beer and pies, he admits frankly. Now 29 years old and his father, this guy with tattoos from Only Fools and Horses has matured.
“A long time, Monday to Friday…”
Clark tried to explain his less self-disciplined days, but with a wry smile, he decided to be more honest.
“No, not even Monday to Friday. I will train and get out of the ring and live a normal life,” he said.
“It took me a long time to realize that this is not about a game in the gym, but a 24-7. You must always live your life as an ultimate boxer, a professional player and an athlete. Maturity is certain It’s helpful. The birth of a child really changed me, and my beautiful partner helped me a lot.”
During this unique journey, he experienced two life-threatening situations.
In 2016, a fight in a nightclub resulted in him being stabbed. Since then, he has become a powerful anti-knife activist.
A year later, Clark and three other British team boxers were involved in the Westminster terrorist attack, killing four people and terrorists.
“I just had my teeth scraped off, and I have gone home to be reunited with my family. Some people did not do that that day,” he told Tokyo 2020.org at the time.
I will never forget what I just saw in the Houses of Parliament in London…God is with the police
— Frazer Clark (@BigFrazeBoxer) March 22, 2017
Clark is known as a long-term sparring partner of Anthony Joshua.
Even more painful is having to watch Joshua and co stole the headlines from outside the ring. Clark worked as a security guard in his early 20s. His size and physique made him a natural fit for restoring order in chaotic boxing matches.
After the first round of fighting in 2015, when Joshua and Dillion White (and the angry members of their team) quarreled, the young Clark rushed into the ring to separate the fighting factions.
“I like it. It was one of the best times in my life,” he said.
“As a boxing fan, I live in a dream. I am a talented 17-year-old boy, but on weekends, I did the wrong thing.
“I witnessed the behind-the-scenes footage with my own eyes and enjoyed it very much. I was there to protect people’s safety, but I sat by the circus and watched the people I respect, the people I yearn for, this is the best experience [to be like].
“It was also a difficult experience, because when I got to the stage, I saw people get a lot of applause, but I thought:’I can beat these guys!'”
Does he really stand there silently in his uniform, thinking that he can eliminate the superstar heavyweight in the ring?
“100%. We are confident people. Ask me how to fight against 18-year-old Mike Tyson? I will say I will win. This is my way. Just be there? I want to say to myself:’I will Well done’.”
Clark entered the Olympic heavyweight class, and previous gold medalists include Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko.
But the biggest pressure may come from the inside-Joshua and Joyce, his super heavyweight predecessors in the GB team, went home with gold and silver medals, and have since become terrible professional players.
“You can call it stress,” he shrugged. “They have their own journey, and I have their own journey. I will do what I should do-play well and win. I am a person. They are great, but I will do things my own way-hope this The same goes for making people happy and successful.”
Clark shared a ring with current professional players Joseph Parker, Tony Yuka, Sergey Kuzmkin and Otto Wolin.
Bakhodir Jalolov of Uzbekistan is the biggest threat to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic gold medal. He took advantage of the new rules that allowed professional boxers to participate in the Olympics. Jalolov is the defending amateur world champion, entered the professional boxing world, won eight matches through quick knockouts, and will now return to Tokyo’s amateur rules.
“Personally, it’s not suitable for me,” Clark said.
“I’m old school — you’re an Olympian and an amateur boxer. But the world is changing. I’m not saying that this is right or wrong. But for me? You made sacrifices and stepping stones. This is what Your apprenticeship entered the professional boxing world. This has always been the case.
“Amir Khan and James DeGair didn’t become professional players until they succeeded in the Olympics. I hope this will continue, but the world is always changing.
“I don’t know what this means for the next Olympic Games.”
Australia’s Justis Huoney has won five professional games in the past year and, like Jaloloff, plans to return to the amateur games at the Olympics. But in his most recent professional game, a former rugby player’s knockout, his injured hand excluded him from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
So is the seesaw between amateur and professional a disadvantage?
“This is a different sport, so it’s definitely possible,” Clark said.
Speaking of his gold-medal opponent Jaloloff, Clark said: “These guys are very smart and cooperate very well. He has always been [into the fourth round just once]. So it has little effect on him. This is a different speed, if your head is somewhere else? But these teams and countries are not stupid. “
Clarke’s win at the 2018 Commonwealth Games represented a new dawn for his career, when he took himself seriously and therefore should be taken seriously by his opponents.
“I’m a smart boxer, I’m very experienced,” he warned his opponent. “I may need better defense! I am always in exciting battles, and people tell me that for some reason I am excited!
“I play well, my hands are fast, my mind is good, my feet are good, I am strong, I can really box. When can I clench my gums? I can do it too.”
Clark has been in and out of the British team training center in Sheffield since he first started his journey to the Olympics in 2009.
Since then, photos of Anthony Joshua have been added to the wall along with Audley Harrison (2000 super heavyweight gold medalist) and other legendary Olympians.
“This is a dream,” Clark said, looking up at the hero on the wall thoughtfully.
“The medal ceremony will be great, but more importantly? Go back to this stadium in 12 years to see these guys? Is there my face in this stadium?
“I will take my child. I will take half of Burton! They may all think this will never happen. Now it is in my hands and I have a chance to achieve it.”