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Clarke faces his moment of truth against Wardley

Doubts have hovered around Frazer Clarke. Can the Olympic bronze medallist deliver as a professional fighter?

Can he handle the rigours of 12-round championship fight, against a top-grade opponent?

Can he keep his boxing together under the pressure of a high-profile grudge match?

Can he win the British title?

All questions will be answered on Sunday night, when he fights Fabio Wardley at the O2 Arena, live on Sky Sports.

BEN SHALOM BOXXER BAD BLOOD FIGHT WEEK.THE O2 LONDON.FABIO WARDLEY V FRAZER CLARKE.PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG/BOXXER.(PICS FREE FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY).BRONX BOXING CLUB 28/03/2024 .MEDIA WORKOUT.BRITISH & COMMONWEALTH HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP.FABIO WARDLEY V FRAZER CLARKE
Image: Clarke challenges Wardley for the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles on Sunday live on Sky Sports

Clarke may have proved himself over and over again in a long and successful amateur career. But he knows against Wardley on Sunday he faces his moment of truth as a pro fighter.

“I really do,” Clarke told Sky Sports. “This is the first fight where – you’re not worried – but you know that something half decent’s coming back.

“This one, he’s full of momentum, he’s full of his own ego and bravado, he believes in himself and they are dangerous people. You’ve got to set about them really quick and let them know they’re in for a fight.”

His training camp for this has been a turning point for Clarke. “I’ve had to have a bit of wake-up call and commend all the fighters that go from championship fight to championship fight to championship fight,” he said. “These camps are brutal.

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Wardley vowed to give his fans a big knockout victory after the first head to head of fight week with Clarke

“I think [Anthony] Joshua’s fought four times in a year, that’s some going.”

He continued: “When you’re at the top of the game and sustain it, I’ve got a new respect for them, even though I respect them anyhow.

“You’ve got to live the life all the time, otherwise you couldn’t do it.

“Mentally, physically, it’s been difficult.”

In fitness and stamina he can’t be found wanting in this bout. But that won’t be all that counts. Boxing fundamentals, essential skill and technique could be decisive. There Clarke is convinced he has an edge.

“They’re all important factors. Everything’s an important factor, your fitness, your knowledge, your ring IQ, your toughness, they’re all important,” Clarke said.

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The latest episode of ‘The Gloves Are Off’ featuring Wardley and Clarke is available now on the Sky Sports Boxing YouTube channel

“It could come down to that [boxing fundamentals]. It could come down to who’s going to keep their cool.

“Them fundamentals will definitely add to the situation,” he continued. “I also think it’s going to come down to a bit of grit as well and a bit of heart as well.”

He will need to bring his full capabilities to bear in this contest. His real potential should be revealed.

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“We’ll see. He’s the one who’s got to bring it out of me,” Clarke said. “I know me, I know what I’ve been doing in the gym. I know I have a game plan, I have two or three of them. It’s up to me to execute. That’s all the talking done now. It’s all about execution.”

The fight, for as long as it lasts, should be exciting too.

“I think it will catch light definitely. He’s going to be the best dance partner I’ve had,” Clarke concluded.

“I imagine it’s going to bring the best out of both of us.”

The time to deliver is almost here.

Watch Fabio Wardley vs Frazer Clarke on Sunday from 6pm on Sky Sports Action and from 7pm on Sky Sports Main Event

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