FOR the upcoming Olympic Games, super-heavyweight stalwart Frazer Clarke is the GB boxing team captain. The likeable big man from Burton has been at the heart of the squad for over 10 years. This is his third Olympic cycle and Tokyo will be his first Games.
After confirming his place at the qualifier in Paris last month, he will lead a quality team of 11 boxers to the delayed Tokyo Games. Joining Frazer are Cheavon Clarke (91kgs), Ben Whittaker (81kgs), Lauren Price (75kgs), Pat McCormack (69kgs), Luke McCormack (63kgs), Caroline Dubois (60kgs), Peter McGrail (57kgs), Karriss Artingstall (57kgs), Galal Yafai (52kgs) and Charley Davison (51kgs).
“Frazer has been a big part of the GB Boxing squad for more than a decade and was the outstanding candidate when it came to appointing a captain. He is always the loudest voice in the crowd supporting his teammates at tournaments and is liked and respected by all of his colleagues. He is a great ambassador for GB Boxing and embodies the ethos of the organisation which aims to develop and support the boxers, not just as athletes, but also as people,” said GB Boxing performance director Rob McCracken.
He’s had so many tournaments for GB over the years but this will his last. “I want to do well for me, I want to do well for my country and my family and my town. The super-heavyweight division, it is a great division, everyone likes the big lads. I’m going to go out there with a smile on my face. I’m already living the dream representing Great Britain. I’m already in an elite group being an Olympian but I want to be in the elite-elite group with that medal. My picture on the wall in Sheffield,” he reflected. “Without sounding too cheesy I hope my performances can lift the nation. We’ve had a terrible time recently, I think sport’s the way to put a smile back on people’s faces. If we’re doing well and I’m doing it with a smile on my face, people can see where I’ve come from. Hopefully it can inspire people.”
The whole squad contains veteran medal winners. “I want more for me, I want more for the rest of my team as well,” Clarke said. “When I sit back and look at what I’ve done, it’s a recipe for success. I don’t see how anything else is possible. I think definitely believing in myself, knowing I’ve done the work and ultimately just knowing that you’re here for a reason. You’re here because you deserve to be here, that’s going to do a lot for me.
“My legacy is someone that will never give up, definitely. Worked hard and did it all with a smile on his face. With good will in my heart. I want to be known as the guy that worked hard and got success but also passed on good feeling to my team mates. I want my team mates to do well. I want them to go on and excel. As much as it’s an individual sport, we are a team, we’re one team. Just like the whole of GB. I want us as a nation to do well. If I can help anyone even one percent then I will be there.”
This is a squad of tremendous potential. “I’ve seen two Olympic squads, I’ve seen the way people peak, the way people train and I think we’re in a great position,” Frazer said. “These are people to be reckoned with, a force in amateur boxing right now.
“I think we are in the best position of the two squads that I’ve seen [before] personally.”
Bear in mind those squads included Olympic luminaries such as Anthony Joshua, Nicola Adams and Luke Campbell, among others, that is saying something.
Team GB Chef de Mission for the Tokyo Olympic Games, Mark England said, “There is huge amount of strength and talent among the boxers selected to Team GB for the Tokyo Olympic Games and their impressive performances in Paris demonstrate how deserving they all are of their selection.
“As a sport that has delivered so many exciting, medal winning performances at the Olympic Games, there is no doubt that Tokyo will be a very special opportunity for these athletes to write their own piece of Team GB history.”
The boxing tournament at the Tokyo Olympics begins on Saturday. Read the full preview in Boxing News this week