Unbeaten heavyweight rivals Fabio Wardley and Frazer Clarke collide in a ‘Bad Blood’ showdown for the British and Commonwealth titles on Sunday March 31 at The O2 in London, live on Sky Sports.
The highly-anticipated clash was confirmed when the pair went head-to-head in the ring before Joshua Buatsi’s fight with Dan Azeez at Wembley Arena.
Reigning champion Wardley (17-0) is on an incredible 16-fight knockout streak, which has seen him steamroll his way through the domestic division.
The 29-year-old from Ipswich looked at his devastating best last time out when dismantling David Adeleye on the Tyson Fury vs Francis Ngannou undercard on October 28 in Riyadh.
Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist Clarke (8-0, six by knockout) is just eight fights into his promising professional career.
Last year “Big Fraze” banked 10 valuable rounds against former world title challenger Mariusz Wach before retiring domestic rival David Allen with a perforated eardrum to continue his unbeaten run.
The pair engaged in an icy face-off and exchange of words before Wardley warned that he believes the fight has come too soon for his opponent.
“It’s too quick for him, there’s a reason why him and his team wouldn’t let me fight him that long ago,” Wardley said. “They felt it was too soon for him then and it’s still too soon for him now. He hasn’t had the right tests, the right fights along the way to build to something like this.
“I’ll give him some credit for his pedigree of course there’s an Olympic medal, a clap to you for that, I promise that’s an achievement. But this is a pro game, it’s not the same thing, I’ve been born and breed in this pro game and it’s where I learnt all my tools and the trade and that’s why I finished up all my opponents.
“It will be a spicy fight but I’m going home with my belts and Frazer is going to be sparked out on the floor.”
Clarke dismissed Wardley’s suggestion that the wait for the highly anticipated bout to be made was due to a lack of willingness on his side.
“We’ve gone round and round and talk is cheap and he’s backed it up so far,” Clarke said. “But I know I am the best fighter he is going to step into the ring with. I know what I am capable of, I give him credit as well, but I don’t need to talk about his background, I don’t need to talk about my amateur background. It’s here and now, the best man will win and the best man is me.
“I did not duck anyone, the team like he said it was their decision, I would have took the fight then but I’ve go it now. Look the talk is done, all that trash talk, I’m not in this pantomime business of boxing, I’m here to fight, he’s here to fight. I respect him, but I’m going to take these titles.
“Talk is cheap, I’m going to put you to sleep.”
Wardley and Clarke have been on a collision course as both men look to establish themselves as the No 1 heavyweight in Britain. Their simmering rivalry reached boiling point following a cancelled purse bid last year.
Clarke was ordered as mandatory challenger for Wardley’s Lonsdale belt in April last year but later withdrew from purse bids.
The fallout sparked a series of tense exchanges between the warring heavyweights and has added serious spite to their now-confirmed Bank Holiday Sunday showdown.
BOXXER founder and CEO Ben Shalom said: “The bad blood needs to be settled. We’re more committed than ever to making the biggest domestic fights for British fight fans and I’m excited for BOXXER to deliver a British heavyweight classic on March 31 at The O2.
“After the outrage last year, this fight has been one that has been really important to make, with fight fans desperate to see it. I’m really happy to deliver the opportunity to Frazer Clarke against Fabio Wardley who is a dangerous man and a great champion.”
Wardley vs Clarke will top an action-packed fight card in the capital with undercard fights to be announced soon.
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