Heavyweight boxing star Frazer Clarke does not believe close friend Anthony Joshua will betray him ahead of his all-British showdown with Fabio Wardley. AJ and Wardley train in the same gym, raising the possibility of the former world champion giving out pointers that could work against Clarke on fight night.
Olympic medalist Clarke and 6ft 5in Wardley are set to put their unbeaten professional records on the line at the O2 Arena on March 31. The winner will also take home the British heavyweight title belt, which is currently held by Wardley.
Clarke finds himself in an unusual situation whereby his friend Joshua is sharing a gym with his upcoming opponent. The 32-year-old’s friendship with AJ is so close that he risked backlash in 2022 by apologising on his behalf for a perplexing rant after losing to Oleksandr Usyk.
“I’d like to apologise on AJ’s behalf,” Clarke told Sky Sports after the fight. “He might not like me for this and his team might not either but they left him out to dry there.
“That was so out of character but the people around him, where were they? He’s had a bad one there… if I was there, I would’ve took a dig just to take the mic off of him just to give him a minute to compose himself.”
Clarke called time on his distinguished amateur career and turned professional in 2022. He has progressed quickly since, having arrived in the pro ranks beyond the age of 30, with wins over Bogdan Dinu, Mariusz Wach and Dave Allen the highlights of his CV.
“If [AJ] starts telling [Wardley] that I do this and I do that, then it’s the mark of the man really. I don’t believe AJ is that way inclined.”
On the fight itself, Clarke added: “I knew I would be here. I’m a good fighter, I know what I’m doing, I’ve been around the game a long time. I knew this was coming. I worked for it and I’m mature enough. That’s the main thing. You have to be mature enough to be in these positions and I think I’m there.”