McCracken backs Clarke to follow in Joshua’s footsteps at Tokyo Games


razer Clarke has been backed to follow in the footsteps of Anthony Joshua in his bid to win Olympic super heavyweight gold and then turn pro, according to performance director Rob McCracken.

Clarke is one of seven British men in the boxing team for the Tokyo Olympics, all of whom are scheduled to turn pro after the Games.

And Clarke, who missed out to Joshua for GB’s London 2012 berth and at the subsequent Games in Rio de Janeiro, finally gets his shot in Japan at the third attempt.

And McCracken, who also acts as Joshua’s trainer in the pro ranks, said: “I’m delighted for Frazer Clarke. Big Josh went to London and won gold and then big Joe Joyce won silver in Rio. Frazer hung in there and followed his Olympic dream.

“It’s a tough challenge Olympic boxing but he’s certainly got the capability to win gold. To get a medal of any kind would be a phenomenal achievement but he should always reach for the sky. He should try to achieve what Big Josh did and win the Olympics. Why shouldn’t he aim to follow him?”

The 29-year-old Clarke, a former Commonwealth Games champion in the super heavyweight division and European silver medallist, begins his Olympic bid against Tsotne Rogava, of the Ukraine, who is also an occasional kickboxer.

Joshua still acts as a mentor for Clarke and many of the boxers within the GB set-up, spending time regularly training in the GB Boxing camp in Sheffield for his professional fights.

“He’s hugely inspirational and they’ve trained alongside him for years,” added McCracken.

“The boxers know if they follow that pattern they can achieve things like Big Josh too. But similarly they inspire him too with their work ethic and constant willingness to do anything needed to achieve something in life.”

Britain’s team in Tokyo is 11-strong in total, with four women as well in the squad including Caroline Dubois, the Londoner who only turned 20 this year and was unbeaten in the junior ranks.

Dubois got off to the perfect start in Tokyo today as she defeated Donjeta Sadiku, of Kosovo 5-0.

She faces a step-up, though, in the subsequent rounds taking on far more experienced fighters at the Games but McCracken said: “She’s done tremendously well. She was a hugely decorated junior and she’s got plenty of potential. Really, the sky is the limit for her right now.”

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