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Frazer Clarke wants to run it back with Fabio Wardley after settling for a draw

Fabio Wardley and Frazer Clarke. Photo credit: Sporting News

Frazer Clarke 8-0-1 (6) wants a second crack at British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion Fabio Wardley 17-0-1 (16) after their first fight at the O2 Arena in London, England on Sunday night ended in a split draw.

The 32-year-old Clarke, who won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 at super heavyweight, started fast and soon had Wardley bleeding from a cut across the bridge of his nose.

But Wardley, 29, was not to be outdone, sending Clarke to the canvas in the fifth. Clarke was docked a point in the seventh for landing a low blow. The entertaining clash saw plenty of swings of momentum and it really looked like it was anybody’s fight when the final bell rang.

In the end the bout was scored 114-113 for Wardley, 115-112 for Clarke and 113-113 even.

If not for the knockdown or the point deduction, Clarke would’ve been exiting the ring with two new belts slung over his shoulder.

Unfortunately for ‘The Eraser’, it wasn’t to be.

“I’m gutted,” said Clarke. “I went in there to take the titles back to my babies, and they’re not coming back. Hopefully we can run it back. I think we can do that again.

“I’m a winner and I’m gutted. I wanted to take them titles back to Burton-on-Trent and I wanted them titles for my kids.

“This past week I’ve had people real close to me lose family members, so this is not pain. That’s real pain. I’m healthy. I’ve come through the fight. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve showed I can do something in this sport – I really can.

“I knew he was tough. We’ve seen it before, he gets hit and he comes alive, so I was expecting that. I’m kicking myself a little bit, thinking, ‘why didn’t you just turn the screw a little bit?’.

“At one point, you feel someone’s energy just go. But this is a man that’s had so many knockouts, you’ve gotta be a bit wary. I wouldn’t say he’s the biggest puncher I’ve ever been in with, but he definitely hits hard enough to make you wary of going at him like that.

“He definitely hit me with a shot [in the fifth round]. I was going backwards. The point deduction, there was definitely no intentional low blow there, that’s not me.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for the authorities in this game. The referees. The judges. I just think there might have been a little bit of inconsistency. He got warned three or four times for the back hand. Maybe if he gets a point off for consistently doing that, then who knows?”

He added: “We all thought I did enough. The rounds I won I won a lot more clear. I know he had a few attacks and he’s got a big crowd in there. Every time he throws the right hand they go crazy.

“If that’s an empty stadium, is it scored differently? Possibly. But like I say, I respect the authorities in boxing. Gutted, yes. I take full responsibility for my hand not being raised. I should have done more and I would have been a champion.”

Clarke still managed to find a silver lining despite being denied the win.

“I’ve gotta believe in myself a little bit more. It’s my first 12-rounder, my ninth fight. Going forward, you’ll see that,” he said.

“Fabio’s done fantastic in his career so far but I thought I was the better man. Such is life. Such is boxing. You need the right dance partner and I had it [in Wardley].”