Frazer Clarke Reflects on “Great Feeling” To Make Olympic Debut

Boxing Scene

Frazer Clarke says it was a great feeling to finally make his debut at the Olympic Games, as he booked himself a quarter-final place at super heavyweight in Tokyo with a split decision win over Ukraine’s Tsotne Rogava. 

Clarke, 29, has spent a decade on the Great Britain Olympic squad, having been a sparring partner for both Anthony Joshua and Joe Joyce as they won gold and silver respectively at the past two Games. 

Clarke received a bye in the first round, so had to wait another seven days to box, but didn’t blow his opportunity. He dominated the Ukrainian, landing well with his right hook to the head. 

He swept all three rounds on four of the judges’ cards, although one judge, from Germany, unfathomably gave the first two rounds to Rogava, making it a 4-1 split decision. 

“It’s a great feeling,” Clarke said. “Waiting is something I’ve become very good at so seven days wasn’t too long to be honest. I was itching to get in there, I even had to ease back on the training because I was so keen to let my hands go. 

“I had a couple of days off before this fight and it served me well. Once I got into the ring, I was ready to go.” 

 One more win and Clarke will be guaranteed a medal in a division where GB has won four medals in the past five Games, including two gold. He faces a tough task, though, as he takes on France’s Mourad Aliev, who beat him last month in the final of the Olympic European qualifying tournament. 

Clarke, though, has become known as the biggest cheerleader for his team-mates and he vowed to be in the arena to support the other members of the squad whenever he was not boxing.

“I try my best,” Clarke said. “When I can get here to watch the others perform, when it’s not going to affect my performance, I’ll be here. It’s the type of character I am, I feel like that represents Team GB boxing and Team GB as a whole. 

“If you come out of the Village, there are a lot of good atmospheres and spirits but I firmly believe that ours is very unique.” 

Charley Davison’s run in the Games ended on Thursday as she lost to the awkward switch-hitting Chang Yuan, the No 2 seed from China. 

Britain still have eight boxers in the draw and have one guaranteed medal so far, Karriss Artingstall, who was assured of at least a bronze by reaching the featherweight semi-finals on Wednesday. 

Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 – covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.

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