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NERVE RACKING: Clarke satisfied with opening bout win

NERVE RACKING: Clarke satisfied with opening bout win

PA Martin Rickett

British super-heavyweight Frazer Clarke was satisfied with his performance against Ukraine’s Tsotne Rogava, admitting any opening bout of a major competition is a “nerve-racking” experience.

Clarke is hoping to continue his nation’s proud record in amateur boxing’s blue riband division since the turn of the century, with Anthony Joshua and Audley Harrison winning gold, Joe Joyce silver and David Price bronze.

The Burton boxer overcame the first hurdle, with four of the five judges giving him the nod 30-27, while the other official scored the contest in Rogava’s favour 29-28.

“I’d rate it as a six out of 10,” said Clarke, assessing his opening bout display. “There are a few more gears for me to get through first.

“The first one is always a bit nerve-racking but I went in there confident, trusted myself, trusted my coaching team and I think I did myself proud, that’s what I was aiming to do.

“I’m trying not to think about winning a medal too much. I want to get to the final, I want to be the gold medallist. I’ll take each one as it comes, I believe in myself and, on my day, if I get it right I’ll go all the way.”

Commonwealth champion Clarke, who takes on France’s Mourad Aliev in the quarter-finals, was the last of Team GB’s boxers to get his campaign under way.

“It’s a great feeling. Waiting is something I’ve become very good at so seven days wasn’t too long to be honest,” he added.

“I was itching to get in there, I even had to ease back on the training because I was so keen to let my hands go. I had a couple of days off before this fight and it served me well. Once I got into the ring, I was ready to go.

“To be an Olympian is a very special thing for me, the smile it puts on the faces of people in Burton-upon-Trent and my family back home, my mum and dad, my grandparents, it makes them so proud.”

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