"We're all looking forward to meeting the best and Frazer Clarke is among some of the best super-heavyweights in the world right now"
Friday 17 April 2020 16:35, UK
Trinidad and Tobago's Nigel Paul will target a historic super-heavyweight victory at the Tokyo Olympics - and could be on a collision course with Team GB's Frazer Clarke.
The 30-year-old hopes to qualify for his second consecutive Olympic Games, having suffered an opening-round loss at Rio in 2016 to Nigeria's Efe Ajagba, who has since emerged as one of the hottest prospects in the professional ranks.
Standing at over 6'4" tall, Paul has since gained experience and victories to instil hope that he could become the first Trinidad and Tobago boxer to not only claim a maiden Olympic win for his country, but also challenge for a podium spot when the tournament is rescheduled next summer.
"We're very confident that he should take part in the Tokyo Games next year," national head coach Reynold Cox told Sky Sports.
"For Nigel, his height and size, he's pretty big and tall for a super-heavyweight. To have a boxer who is very agile with very good physical fitness, I think that can set him aside in this region, because most of the guys are probably shorter.
"I think the whole team were disappointed it (Tokyo Games) was put back. We were really geared up to get there, to qualify."
Team GB's Clarke overpowered Paul when they met in the 2016 World Boxing Super Series and the duo could meet again in Japan, depending on the draw.
"We're all looking forward to meeting the best and Frazer Clarke is among some of the best super-heavyweights in the world right now," said Cox.
"We still wanted to get that rematch back in the Commonwealth Games. For us, meeting Frazer Clarke again, is going to be good, is going to show us how far he has improved from 2016 to now, because in 2016 he had just about 10 bouts in qualifying for the Olympic Games.
"After fighting Frazer Clarke, he was still pretty green, but to come now and meet Frazer Clarke after four years, it will show us where Nigel is, and whether he could really be a force to be reckoned with as a super-heavyweight."
Boxing must battle for recognition with other more popular activities in the Caribbean, although the emergence of Paul in the top weight division could create fresh interest in the sport throughout the region.
I think one of Nigel's great ambitions is actually to be at the Olympic Games and win an Olympic gold.
"Everybody watches boxing for the heavyweights alone," said Cox.
"For us to have a boxer at the Olympic Games in heavyweight and doing well, it's really going to shine the spotlight on us, for us with boxing, because in Trinidad and Tobago we have sports that get more attention, more support like football, cricket.
"When boxing begins to be there and be on the podium and do well, it really shines a good light on us.
"I think one of Nigel's great ambitions is actually to be at the Olympic Games and win an Olympic gold.
"Next year I think he has to make that decision whether he wants to continue another four years, or actually turn pro. Everything for me is going to be on what he does in Tokyo."