World Boxing Championships: Frazer Clarke finally ready to make debut after injury

Fraser Clarke
Frazer Clarke won the super-heavyweight division at the Rio 2016 test event

Super-heavyweight Frazer Clarke feels ready to make his World Boxing Championships debut having feared his career was over in 2017.

Clarke, 28, was understudy to Anthony Joshua and Joe Joyce in the Great Britain squad, then injury hit after he succeeded them as number-one choice.

"I detached my hamstring - it was career-threatening and the worst year of my life," Clarke said.

"I've had to be patient but I'm now 100% ready to take a medal."

Clarke is one of 13 GB boxers selected to compete at the World Championships in Ekaterinburg, Russia, from 7-21 September.

The Burton fighter was sparring partner to Joshua and Joyce as they were picked ahead of him to represent GB at the last two Olympic Games.

Following Rio 2016, Clarke was given the nod to fight through to next year's Tokyo Games in the super-heavyweight category.

But he missed the first World Championships of the cycle in 2017 due to a freak injury.

"I was playing a stupid game of football before the European Championships and I slipped," Clarke told BBC Sport.

"I've got quite a high pain threshold but this was by the far the worst pain I've ever felt in my life.

"The pain completely took my breath away. I'll take getting hit in the face any day.

"The hamstring had completely ripped off the bone. It was a scary time.

"The World Championships that year were only two months away and it was finally my time to go.

"But I had to have an operation and I was out for the best part of a year."

Fraser Clarke
Clarke won European silver in 2017 despite tearing his hamstring in a freak football accident

Once again missing out, the setback took its toll.

"I was really down," said Clarke. "There were four or five days I didn't want to get out of bed. I hit the food, I was having one too many pints."

"I just thought it was over for me - I was climbing the mountain and then I slipped all the way back down.

"I didn't think I could climb it again."

Clarke attributes the help of "good people" around him and the inspiration of his young daughter as catalysts for his successful return to the sport.

The 6ft 6in boxer marked his major comeback at last year's Commonwealth Games with a gold medal.

Starting with the World Championships, he is now fully focused on working towards his goal of Olympic success in Tokyo next year,

"I was at my pinnacle when the injury happened but I'm almost back to where I was and I'm more hungry now than ever," said Clarke.

"I want to go to these World Championships and let people know if they want an Olympic medal next year they're going to have to come through me.

"An Olympic medal is the reason I wake up every day. Qualifying for the Olympics and getting a medal - that's the foundation for my future."