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Frazer Clarke has begun life in the professional game with four straight victories

“I’d love to be in contention at British title level”; Frazer Clarke takes on Kevin Espindola over six rounds on the undercard of Chris Eubank’s British showdown with Liam Smith on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office

Natasha Jonas v Marie-Eve Dicaire - AO Arena
Frazer Clarke celebrates victory against Kamil Sokolowski in the heavy-weight bout at the AO Arena, Manchester. Issue date: Saturday November 12, 2022.
Image: Frazer Clarke celebrates victory over Kamil Sokolowski in November

Frazer Clarke is eyeing the British heavyweight title in 2023 as he prepares to take the next step in his professional career, starting with a six-round contest against Kevin Espindola on the Eubank Jr vs Smith bill, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

Having eased to four successive wins in the pro game, it's clear Clarke now needs to increase the level of his opponents.

The Brit recognises this is the case, exclusively telling Sky Sports: "I don't like to get too far ahead of myself, but I'd be lying if I said I hadn't looked at the British title and hadn't looked around the British scene, the other heavyweights.

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Clarke says that he hopes title fights are on the horizon for him in 2023 as he looks to continue his progression

"Do I think I'm the best? I absolutely do, yeah. In the current crop of people that would be challenging for that title, I put myself right up there. I think I'm proving slowly why I'm that.

"Obviously, I've got the amateur pedigree. As a pro, I'm looking more solid. British title level is somewhere by the end of the year I'd love to be in contention for."

Fabio Wardley is the current British titleholder, having knocked out Nathan Gorman in sensational fashion in November for the vacant title.

Wardley would represent a significant step up in class from what Clarke has faced to date in his fledging career in the paid ranks.

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Image: Fabio Wardley is currently British heavyweight champion

However, the 31-year-old is adamant his sole focus is on the Lonsdale belt, saying: "I won't be calling anyone out. Fabio Wardley is not who I'm hunting down. What I'm hunting down is the British title.

"So, if Fabio Wardley has got it then that's what it becomes. I give Fabio Wardley full credit for the way he won it. I've got a feeling he'll be looking to move on."

Clarke spent a long time in the amateur setup at Team GB, first seeing Anthony Joshua win gold in London at the 2012 Olympics before Joe Joyce secured silver in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

'Big Fraze' got his chance though at the delayed 2020 Games in Tokyo, winning bronze after suffering defeat at the hands of Uzbekistan's Bakhodir Jalolov, who has also since turned professional.

Image: Clarke shows off his bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Japan

Clarke is confident his amateur pedigree will stand him in good stead for the future, saying at the pre-fight press conference: "I know I can box. The thing for me now is look after myself a bit more, break these fighters down and use my skill, use my knowledge.

"Hopefully we'll go to the top of the game. I'm just a hungry fighter. I'm not old, I'm seasoned, I'm good and I'm ready to go.

"I'm excited for a good opponent, someone that is going to come to win. I've got full respect for him and I'll show that in the performance."

Image: Clarke was taken the distance by Sokolowski in his last fight

Clarke's clash with Espindola is one of several intriguing fights on this weekend's undercard at the Manchester Arena and the likeable heavyweight has given his breakdown on how he expects things to pan out elsewher

Joe Parker vs Jack Massey

Having suffered the first knockout defeat of his career to Joe Joyce last time out, Joe Parker knows he needs a dominant victory over Jack Massey if he's to re-establish himself as one of the leading heavyweights.

Clarke has fought Parker before in the amateur ranks, losing to the New Zealander at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India.

Despite winning gold at the 2018 edition of the event, he nonetheless would like to exact revenge on the former WBO world champion.

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Clarke hasn't ruled out a fight against Joe Parker in the future

"I don't like the fact he's got one over me. He's ahead of me at the minute but things can change in boxing. With the right performances and the right guidance then I don't see why next year that couldn't be a possibility," he stated.

Richard Riakporhe vs Krzystof Glowacki

With a cruiserweight world title shot moving ever closer, Richard Riakporhe knows he can't afford to slip up against former two-time world champion Krzystof Glowacki.

Clarke, who now trains out of the same gym as Riakporhe, was full of praise for the Londoner, claiming: "He's genuinely the best I've ever seen him. He's been fantastic, his attitude has been second to none.

"The difference in him is self-belief, I think he's starting to believe in himself. I think he'll be going in there to do a job and I think he'll look good doing it. I'm excited for Richard, really good time to be Richard Riakporhe. I think Richard Riakporhe is the best cruiserweight in the world."

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Richard Riakporhe wants to produce an explosive victory in his clash with Krzystof Glowacki

Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Smith

Middleweight bragging rights are on the line when Chris Eubank Jr takes on Liam Smith in Saturday's main event of the evening.

With both men targeting future world title fights, defeat for either could prove terminal to their boxing careers.

In such a high-stakes bout, Clarke admits he's struggling to pick a clear winner, saying: "My prediction is Liam Smith. I've got Smith just edging it. I can see a close fight, I'm not sure which way it's going to go but Smith-Eubank 2, I can already see that in the summer.

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The bad blood between Chris Eubank Jr and Liam Smith showed no sign of ending at the head to head following the press conference

"Chris Eubank is valuable for boxing, valuable for British boxing because people want to see him. Some people want to see him lose and some people want to see him win. He's the glamour of boxing on Sky at the minute. He's quite entertaining. I'm a big fan of both fighters.

"Eubank is as tough as old boots. He's a fighter through and through. When it gets tough and in the trenches, he's got it. I think the one thing he might struggle with is he doesn't have as much experience. That could be a little factor for me. It's all about IQ and who can box the best."

Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Smith is on Saturday January 21, live on Sky Sports Box Office. Book it now if you are a Sky TV subscriber or a Non-Sky TV subscriber. Buy tickets here.

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