Frazer Clarke still has his sights on a domestic showdown with Fabio Wardley after their proposed British heavyweight title clash fell through.
The Olympic bronze medallist’s team withdrew from purse bids for the contest with unbeaten British champion Wardley last week as they wanted Clarke to have a 10-round contest prior to a 12-round title fight.
But the 31-year-old is adamant he still wants to face Wardley and is optimistic the fight can be made for a later date.
“It’s been a horrendous seven days,” Clarke told Sky Sports News. “There has been a lot of talk about myself – not all in the best light.
“It’s just unfortunate the way it unfolded, and I was sort of portrayed as I didn’t want the fight, but I know and even Fabio knows I’m not the kind of person to duck anyone.
“I’m not the kind of person who doesn’t want to fight, I’d love that fight. I think it would be good for myself, good for Fabio, good for the public.
“Now I’ve got to concentrate on what’s next and hopefully the people in the background are working together to make that fight happen because I think it’s become a fight which must happen now.”
Wardley claimed the vacant British heavyweight crown in November last year with a third-round stoppage of Nathan Gorman and extended his career record to 16-0 (15) by stopping Michael Coffie in the fourth round at the start of April.
Clarke, coming off the back of a second-round stoppage win over Bogan Dinu in March, is full of respect for his domestic rival and is now turning his immediate attention to his next contest.
“He’s a great fighter and I think it would be a great fight,” Clarke said. “I was eager to have that fight – maybe a bit too eager – and it all came to a halt last week.
“I’ve dealt with what has been thrown at me, it is what it is, and we concentrate on what’s next and move forward.”
That comes in the form of experienced Polish campaigner Mariusz Wach, a former world heavyweight title challenger, who has gone the distance with Wladimir Klitschko, Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin.
Clarke admits he will be taking a sizeable step up in class against Wach at York Hall on June 16, live on Sky Sports.
“It’s a huge test – I’ve got a lot of respect for him,” said Clarke, who is aiming to extend his six-fight unbeaten record.
“I’ve been in the gym with him before, done some sparring with him, I’ve seen the test he gives to a lot of fighters.
“I’ve seen him recently go the distance with a prospect and do really well in that fight. He’s big, he has a good jab, he’s seasoned, and I’m pretty sure he’ll be giving me the rounds I need to progress – the rounds which have been so much of a problem, we’ve all wanted.
“Hopefully I can do these rounds, do them well, and get what I need from it.”