This episode introduces us to Frazer Clarke: a super heavyweight boxer who has spent the last 12 years fighting for his opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games.
12 years is how long Frazer has been on the Team GB Olympic boxing team. It is a record period of time. During previous tournaments, he has lost out on making the Olympics to illustrious GB competitors, such as current unified Heavyweight Champion: Anthony Joshua, and current WBO mandatory challenger: Joe Joyce.
The closest Frazer had come to tournament glory was at the World Championships in Russia in 2019 when he beat a Russian competitor in the quarter-finals. By winning this fight, Frazer had guaranteed himself at least a bronze medal. However, after the fight had ended and Frazer’s victory had been declared, Frazer was informed that the Russian team were appealing the decision. Devastatingly, the appeal was won and the decision was overturned: Frazer was out of the tournament. “It broke a piece of my heart…It was the closest I’d come to feeling that I don’t want to do this anymore… I felt let down but I don’t know by who.” It was particularly cruel for Frazer’s dreams of winning a medal for Great Britain to be ended this way. He had done all he could to win but backstage politics had conspired to rob him of his victory.
Frazer did not give up, however. He continued fighting and entered his next challenge which was to fight a qualifier for the 2021 Olympic Games. Frazer would discover that the qualifier was scheduled to take place in Paris on the same day that his son was due to be born. He describes deciding which event to attend as being a genuinely difficult decision to make but, fortunately, he was spared having to make the choice as his son was born a few days before the due date. This left Frazer free to make one more attempt to pursue his dream. He had to fight a Croatian competitor to begin with, someone he’d fought previously in 2018. Frazer says “When I went into the ring, my legs were trembling”. But, despite these nerves, he won the fight and went on to the next challenge.
This challenge would come in the face of a Turkish competitor, who Frazer knew would come to give his all. But no-one could be more motivated than Frazer was at that moment. Describing his thoughts as he was walking to the ring, he says: “I’m willing to go through hell, I’m willing to do whatever it takes. I walk to the ring, I’m confident… I’m replaying in my head all the work I’ve done, the sparring, the runs, the time I’ve stayed away from my kids… 12 years of work all depending on 9 minutes; it’s me versus him.” Such motivation was finally able to take Frazer to victory and to guarantee him his place competing at the Olympic Games: “with the weight that was lifted off my shoulders, I could’ve floated up in the air.”
After so much dedication and sacrifice, Frazer had finally achieved his goal. It had taken him 12 years but now his moment had arrived. By never giving up, no matter how difficult his situation became, Frazer was eventually able to realise his ambitions.