Picture by PA Wire/PA Images

Five things to know about British boxer Frazer Clarke

The 2018 Commonwealth champion is a long-time sparring partner of Anthony Joshua, but did you know he used to work as a fight night security guard?
By Andrew Binner

Heavyweight boxer Frazer Clarke has waited over a decade for his shot at Olympic glory.

The Burton bruiser first entered the Team GB boxing ranks as a raw, but talented, 17-year-old.

After being pipped to selection by future Olympic champion Anthony Joshua for the London 2012 Games, Clarke set his sights on competing at Rio 2016.

In December 2015, he thought that his chance on the biggest amateur stage of all had come after winning the super heavyweight division at the Olympic test event.

However, he was agonisingly edged out once more for selection, this time by Joe Joyce, who went on to claim silver in Brazil.

After a period of deliberation over whether to turn professional or not, Clarke decided to give the Olympics one last shot, and rebounded to win the 2018 Commonwealth Games title in Australia.

But Clarke’s patience was to be tested once again, after the coronavirus pandemic cut the European Olympic Boxing Qualifier short before he had secured his place at the Tokyo Games in 2021.

The qualifier in London is set to resume on 22 April without spectators, and will be shown live on Olympic Channel here.

But how well do you know the 29-year-old, who’s life away from the sport has also been something a roller-coaster ride?

England's Frazer Clarke won the +91kg title at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Picture by 2018 Getty Images

1 - Sparred Joshua but inspired by Pacquiao

Clarke and professional heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua go way back.

The pair were rivals for the same spot on the Great Britain team in 2012, and have remained close ever since.

In 2019, Clarke helped prepare Joshua to reclaim the IBF, WBC and WBO world titles.

While Clarke hopes to emulate Joshua’s success in the professional ranks after the Olympics, his boxing inspiration comes from an unexpected source.

Far from a fellow heavyweight, one of the boxers that Clarke loves watching the most is the comparatively miniscule Manny Pacquiao.

“I loved watching him. He absolutely captivated me. We’re chalk & cheese in terms of styles, but I’m a massive Pacquiao fan!” he told BoxingScience.co.uk.

2 - Life-threatening attack

In December 2016, Clarke was celebrating the birth of his daughter in a local nightclub with friends, back home in Burton-upon-Trent.

“I’m a good person. I wouldn’t say I’m an angel in any aspects, but it was just a night out. I got into what I thought was a fight,” he told Tokyo2020.org.

Clarke was brutally attacked and stabbed three times; twice in the leg and once in the neck.

“With my daughter being so young at the time, it really opened-up my eyes at how cruel it could be."

The incident proved to be a wake-up call for Clarke, who decided to dedicate himself to boxing after he recovered, and became heavily involved in anti-knife campaigns.

3 - Walked into a terrorist attack

It was simply a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In March 2017, Clarke found himself caught in the epicentre of one of the worst terrorist attacks on UK soil.

A car had mounted the pavement and crashed into the railings outside the Palace of Westminster in London, killing and injuring several people.

“I’ve seen a police officer killed, and I’ve seen the attacker, I’ve seen him gunned down as well," he recalled.

“I’ve just scraped out by the skin of my teeth and I’ve gone home to my family. Some people didn’t get to do that that day. It was a sad day for everyone involved." - Frazer Clarke to Tokyo2020.org

4 - A tattoo for his favourite sitcom

Most Brits of a certain age will know of a comedy TV show called ‘Only Fools and Horses’.

It follows the life of a smooth-talking south Londoner called Del Boy making his way in the world.

Clarke calls himself the show’s ‘biggest ever fan’, and has the ink to prove it!

“I’ve got a tattoo of Del Boy on my leg. If you said general heroes instead of sporting heroes, he’d have been the first one to come to mind,” the boxer told Boxing Road to Tokyo London.

5 - Worked in fight security

Earlier in his career, Clarke used to work as a fight night security guard at the biggest professional matches.

He could often be seen in the ring when the fight boiled over between two entourages.

One such scuffle occurred between the Joshua and Dillian Whyte camps in 2015. Watch closely and you’ll see Clarke in the middle of it, keeping the two sides apart.

That's one security guard you wouldn't say 'No' to.