Third Time Lucky - Emotional Frazer Clarke Finally Secures Olympics Spot

The Brit has finally made it to the big event in what could be his final amateur venture
17:10, 07 Jun 2021

After securing a place at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, Frazer Clarke becomes the latest Team GB athlete to try to bring home gold from inside the ring.

Since the turn of the Millennium, Anthony Joshua, Luke Campbell, Nicola Adams, James DeGale and Audley Harrison have managed that very feat, while Amir Khan and Joe Joyce did our shores proud by returning with silver medals.

The latter name in that list is no stranger to Clarke, with the Burton boxer facing Joyce no less than four times in his amateur career. Joyce came out on top in all four contests, including a third-round stoppage back in 2014.

Clarke maintains that he has improved no end since then, and believes that he is a better technician than Anthony Joshua.

Speaking to Sky Sports last year, the 29-year-old boasted: “We're very different. You have the fitness machine - Joe Joyce. You have the power athlete - Joshua. But I believe I'm a better boxer than both, more of a natural boxer. I think few people around the game who've seen us box at the same stages would disagree.

"I'll bring a different style, a different way of fighting. It'll be boxing skills, excitement all the way. Maybe I'll have to tighten up my defence in the pros, but it will be exciting.”

CLARKE HAS HAD TO PLAY SECOND FIDDLE TO ANTHONY JOSHUA AND JOE JOYCE BEFORE NOW
CLARKE HAS HAD TO PLAY SECOND FIDDLE TO ANTHONY JOSHUA AND JOE JOYCE BEFORE NOW

The latest addition to Team GB’s boxing roster has made no secret of his desire to turn over into the professional ranks at some point, but he has unfinished business to deal with before then.

Needing a win over Turkey’s Berat Acar in a win-or-bust bout to book his spot on the plane this summer, the pressure was undeniable.

It was a case of third time lucky for the super heavyweight, who played second fiddle to Joshua himself in the build-up to the London 2012 Olympics, and then found himself in the same situation with Joyce ahead of the Rio games four years later.

Now, five years on, he has had to exercise incredible patience before qualifying for his first ever Olympics, after being on the brink of booking his spot before the pandemic put the brakes on his bid.

The delay made victory even sweeter for Clarke, who looked in control throughout his three-round contest in Paris over the weekend. Forcing Acar to take a standing count in the second session, ‘The Eraser’ expertly evaded the Turk’s wild swings to take a unanimous decision. Russia’s Ivan Veriasov was originally awaiting in the Paris semi-finals, but his withdrawal from the tournament gives Clarke a walkover through to the final.

The emotions were there for all to see as the Burton ABC man celebrated the biggest win of his 12-year career. A debut amateur victory in Dublin suggested that a promising career was on the horizon, only to follow that up with eight consecutive defeats that included names such as Joseph Parker, Joyce and future Tyson Fury opponent Otto Wallin.

Lesser men would have quit the sport after receiving such little change to begin with, but Clarke’s determination to make it to the pinnacle of the amateur ranks makes his qualification for the Tokyo Games all the more sweet.

In what is likely to be his final tournament before turning professional, Clarke will be determined to follow in the footsteps of Joshua and Joyce before him. It would take a brave punter to bet against him doing just that.

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