Frazer Clarke says stepping up to the professional ranks has forced him to be more selfish in his pursuit of prominence having previously put the interest of others first as captain of Great Britain’s boxing setup.
The Olympic bronze medalist is 1-0 since signing with Boxxer in December having made his professional bow on the undercard of the Amir Khan-Kell Brook grudge match with a first-round knockout win over Jake Darnell.
Clarke had been due to face Spain’s Gabriel Enguema on March 26 in his second bout only to withdraw as he was required to undergo surgery on a hand injury.
The untimely delay has been an early insight into the nature of the pro scene, only fuelling Clarke’s desire to assert himself on the big stage.
“It’s a business, boxing is a business in the pro game,” Clarke told Sky Sports. “I had all that fun in the amateurs as a captain, as a team leader, now I’ve got to be selfish and think of myself, be cut-throat.
“I know what I want and that’s titles, I want success to secure my future, my family’s future. I want to become a superstar.
“I’m not in here to take part, I’m here to take over. As cliche as that sounds you look at Tyson Fury at Wembley, Joshua has been there, I want to emulate them guys.”
Clarke wants to fight his way to title opportunities in boxing, he wants to talk about boxing, he wants to be surrounded by boxing for the rest of his life.
During his recovery from surgery, the 30-year-old has featured regularly as a pundit on Sky Sports’ Boxxer shows, giving him the chance to work alongside a man whose achievements he hopes to match both in and out the ring.
“People are going to laugh at this but I’m 100 per cent serious,” said Clarke. “When people ask me about how I want my career to pan out I don’t mind being a Johnny Nelson.
“I would love to box for my whole career, go on and spend the rest of my life working for Sky on boxing. It’s my passion, it’s my love, it’s not even work to me, going all round the world and talking about boxing.
“I want to be the next Johnny Nelson. It’s something I’m working on outside the gym, the way I talk, the way I present.”
Nelson retired with a record of 45-12-2 in 2006 and as the longest-reigning world cruiserweight champion in boxing history, before later joining the Sky Sports Boxing team.
Such are the opportunities provided at professional level that Clarke has recently found himself attending dinners with the likes of three-time world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis and American great Larry Holmes.
For Clarke it is another welcome chance to live and breathe boxing, but also to soak up advice he can implement to his own development.
“I more try to tap into their mindset, how they did things at certain times,” he explained. “All these guys had their own talents, but it’s the mind-frame.
“I spoke to Lennox Lewis about how he walked out to the ring and he looked so focused all the time.
“He said he’s got a switch, he’d go from Lennox Lewis to this beast that wants to win. You take those things in.”
Clarke is hopeful of making a return to the ring in July and believes the training restrictions imposed by his injured right hand have ultimately made him a more accomplished fighter.
“We’ve just adapted everything really,” Clarke said. “Angel (trainer Angel Fernandez) has really changed things for me. He’s gone beyond, he does sessions where it’s just the lead hand, footwork sessions, really specific stuff. We’ve improved what we can improve, a lot of strength stuff.
“Even though the right hand is out of use, there’s so much more to boxing than this right hand. We’ve gone full circle. I feel strong and I feel fit.
“I think I’ve become a better fighter in the last eight weeks with this injury. I really do. I think I’ve become a lot better fighter mentally and physically.
“Getting back to full fitness is the first thing, then after that it’s all about building momentum again, which would have happened after the debut. So I think we’re going to get back in July hopefully and then the end of the year is going to be a busy one.”