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Ben Whittaker Wary Emotion Will Lead To Frazer Clarke’s Heart Ruling His Head

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Ben Whittaker has warned his friend Frazer Clarke against the danger of allowing emotion to influence his fight with Fabio Wardley on Sunday evening.

The long-term rivals, at London’s O2 Arena, contest Wardley’s British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles after a period of increasing demands for them to fight that contributed to Clarke being criticised for his perceived reluctance. 

Whittaker, 26 and who on the undercard fights Leon Willings in his seventh professional contest, remains friendly with Clarke from their days as Olympic medallists at the Tokyo 2020 Games, and for all of his belief in him and his respected abilities, Whittaker recognizes that Clarke can fight with his heart over his head and therefore brawl when he should box.

“All boxers can, but that’s where the world champions differ from the other fighters,” the light heavyweight said. 

“You’ve got to let your emotions not take part of it. At the end of the day it’s a sport – if you’ve done your craft, you go in there and follow the game plan. But I do know Frazer – he lets himself get drawn in, and hopefully he doesn’t let that happen. 

“I’ve not spoken to him. I’m one of those – I like to just focus on myself, but by the looks of his Instagram videos and by the looks of the way he’s talking, he looks like he’s on it. Sometimes you don’t need to be on it, on it, because you overthink it. It’s just another fight. 

“He’s been up and down the country; he’s trained hard all the time that I’ve seen him. So just go in there as another fight. You can put too much on the situation – you can overthink it. ‘It’s another fight – go in there and do what you do.’ 

“On paper – I’m not a betting man – but by the bookies it’s looking like Fabio’s the man to bet for. But I was speaking to Frazer when the fight got announced and I was excited for him. We’ve been up and down the country as amateurs; we was talking about days like this, and to headline so [early] in his career for the British title; the Commonwealth title, it’s a dream come true. 

“But don’t just live to headline, if that makes sense. You’ve gotta go out there and leave it all in the ring, ‘cause it is a tough fight. Fabio’s very experienced; he’s been in them gut-check fights, and that’s what I think it might come down to, but ‘cause I’m friends with him – I like him a lot – I’m pushing towards Frazer. I’m gonna say Frazer, points.”

Willings is three years younger than Whittaker at 23, and fighting for the eighth time as a professional. There is also a three-year age difference between Wardley, 29, and the 32-year-old Clarke.

“[Willings is] bit of a step up,” Whittaker continued. “He’s Central Area champion; 7-1. So I’m excited. Hopefully he can bring a fight. He’s English as well, which is what the fans like. He can talk. He can come for a bit of a game, but I just think it’ll show levels and that’s what I’m looking to show. It’s one of those things. When you start hopping on one leg, to get the opponents is ridiculous – BoxRec’s one of those things, it ranks you all over the place. 

“I’m like 168 in the world – I think I’m a lot higher than that but it is what it is. We had a couple of opponents ranked 76 in the world, ranked 60, so on paper they’re really good. We were saying ‘Yeah’ and they were saying ‘No’ or they’d ask for more money. It was ridiculous. But it is what it is. I’m sure that’ll come more in my career, but fair play, Leon said ‘Yeah’, and he was training and had the heads up already, so I’m hoping he comes in shape and it’s a good fight.” 

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