Super-heavyweight Frazer Clarke is hoping to write his name in the history books as he prepares for next weekend’s England Boxing National Finals at the Echo Arena Liverpool, 25-27 April 2014.
The boxer from Burton, who has been part of the GB Boxing Olympic squad for five years, is seeking to win the national championship (previously known as the ABAs) for the first time after losing in the 2011 final and being unable to compete in the 2012 tournament.
Clarke said: “The National Finals is a massive thing for me. You only have to look at the names that have won it to see what it means. It’s history. I want to win it so that my name can go down alongside those great names from the past.
“Most of the time with the GB squad we box abroad so it’s great to be in the National Championships as it is one of the few occasions when my family and friends get to see me compete.”
The England Boxing National will be at the Echo Arena Liverpool and run from Friday 25 April–Sunday 27 April 2014 as the quarter-finals, semis and finals will be held over three consecutive days of competition.
Tickets for all three days are available for £39 (£28 concessions) or £16.90 (£11.50 concessions) for each day, inclusive of booking fee. A handling fee of £2.25 per order applies
Tickets can be purchased at www.echoarena.com or by calling call the Echo Arena Box Office on 0844 8000 400.
Clarke is the number one seeded super-heavyweight in the quarter-finals and is approaching the tournament in great form after winning his first international tournament, The Strandja Cup in Bulgaria, in March of this year.
He said: “Winning my first senior international tournament has given me a lot of confidence. I have won a few bronze medals before but actually getting the gold has really given me a boost.
“If you look at the names that have won medals at The Strandja, such as Tom Stalker, Anthony Joshua, Anthony Ogogo and Luke Campbell, they are all top boxers, so it shows that you have to be good to win that tournament.
“I beat one of the top Russians (Sergey Kuzmin) along the way. He is ranked eighth in the world by AIBA and was the European Champion in 2010 so beating that calibre of opponent is big step forward for me.”
The 22-year-old attributes his upsurge in form to his growing maturity and the advice of the GB Boxing coaches on the Olympic programme where he trains four-days per week at the English Institute of Sport (EIS) in Sheffield.
Clarke explained: ““The coaches at GB are always telling us that being a successful boxer is all about your lifestyle and living the right way. You cannot just turn-up and expect to win. Over the last couple of years, I have rally made some big changes to way I live. This has enabled me to train a lot harder and I think the improvements are showing in my performances.”
To win the title Clarke may have to beat the number two seed, Joe Joyce, who defeated Clarke in the 2011 final.
The 27 year old from Earlsfield ABC in London is also a member of the GB Boxing squad and won a bronze medal at the 2013 European Championship in Minsk, Belarus.
The pair get on well and train together in the GB Boxing gym in Sheffield where they have sparred hundreds of rounds since Joyce joined the squad in 2011.
Joyce won their previous competitive bouts but the fast maturing Clarke is looking forward to the possibility of meeting again in this year’s final.
He said: “Joe is a top fighter. I know all about his qualities from sparring with him in the GB gym and anyone that has to get past him is in for a tough bout.
“We met in the 2011 final and Joe won that won fair and square but when we boxed again in the 2012 GB Championship, there was only one point in it and a lot of people said the bout could easily have gone my way.
“Having the best boxers in the country in this year’s tournament means that winning it will be a really great achievement.
“That is my goal and then hopefully it will give me a chance of getting selected for England at the Commonwealth Games. Long-term I want to go to Rio in 2016 but, right now, I am just taking things one step at a time.”
The England Boxing National Finals will be at the Echo Arena Liverpool, 25-27 April 2014.
40 quarter-final bouts will be held on Friday 25 April from 1.00-7.00pm with two rings in the Arena.
On Saturday 26 April, there will be one ring in the Arena for the 20 semi-finals, which will run from 11.00am-6.00pm. It will allow boxing fans to see all 20 of the semi-finals for the first time, whereas previously they were held at two separate events in different regions of England.
On Saturday evening there will be an exhibition of female boxing in the Arena. It will feature domestic match-ups, contests between home nation boxers and international matches including a host of England’s finest up-and-coming junior and senior female talents.
The Men’s Elite Finals will be from 2.00-6.00pm on Sunday 27 April 2014.