‘I know that on my day, if I get it right, I will go all the way,’ says Frazer Clarke as he books a super-heavyweight quarterfinal showdown with a familiar rival
GB Boxing team captain, super-heavyweight Frazer Clarke won his Olympic debut at the Kokugukan Arena on Thursday (July 29). He was in control throughout against Tsotne Rogava, marshalling the Ukrainian with jabbing. Clarke maintained his form, cracking down his right cross when Rogava stepped in. The Ukrainian snuck hooks into the body but soon felt the weight of Clarke’s punches as the Briton landed the eye-catching shots. He won a 4-1 split decision and will advance to the quarterfinals.
“It’s a great feeling. Waiting is something I have become very good at, so an extra six days [after the Opening Ceremony] didn’t seem that long to be honest. I was itching to get in there and I had to ease back on the training I was so keen to let my hands go. But I had a couple of days off before this fight and it served me well, as once I got into the ring I was ready to go,” Clarke said. “I’d rate [my performance] probably a 6/10. There are a few more gears for me to go through yet. The first fight is always a bit nerve-racking but I went in there confident and trusting myself, trusting my coaching team and I think I did myself proud and that’s what I was aiming to do.”
Clarke is doing what he can to embrace the Olympic experience. “I’ve tried my best to get here [to the arena to support his teammates] when it’s not going to impact my performance. If I can be here, I will. I feel that’s the type of character I am. I represent Team GB Boxing and Team GB as whole. If you go in that village there are a lot of good atmospheres around but I feel and believe that ours is unique,” he said. “To be an Olympian is a very special thing for me and the smile it will put on the faces of people in Burton-on-Trent and my family back home, my mum and dad and my grandparents. Professionals will come but at the minute I am fully enjoying being Team GB boxing captain, willing everyone on and doing myself proud and doing my best.”
He’s also one win away from a super-heavyweight Olympic medal. He’ll box an old rival, France’s Mourad Aliev on Sunday (August 1) in the quarterfinals. “We’ve boxed a few times, it’s 2-1 to me. He beat me in the European final of the qualifiers the last time. We boxed only six weeks ago, something like that, so it will be an interesting battle again but I’ll right my wrongs, work with my team, and we’ll get the job done,” he said. “I’m just taking it one fight at a time to be honest. I’m trying not to think about the medal too much. I want to get to the final, I want to be the gold medallist, but we’ll take each one as it comes and get the victories. I believe in myself and my team and know that on my day, if I get it right, I will go all the way.”