Frazer Clarke continues as Frenchman loses his head as Pat McCormack and Ben Whittaker make progress
Frazer Clarke continues as Frenchman loses his head as Pat McCormack and Ben Whittaker also win to guarantee five podium finishes for Team GB in boxing
In scenes of farce and brilliance on Monday, the British boxers came closer and closer to the team’s best medals at an Olympics.
Wins for Frazer Clarke, Pat McCormack and Ben Whittaker, added to Saturday’s Karriss Artingstall’s featherweight bronze and Lauren Price’s upcoming middleweight semifinal, have seen Rob McCracken’s program take at least five podium finishes.
That will equal their London 2012 record, with Galal Yafai and Caroline Dubois also making progress towards the medal rounds.
It amounts to an astonishing performance from the team of 11.
There was a surreal edge to the latest win for super heavyweight Clarke, who has spent the better part of 10 years waiting in the shadows of Anthony Joshua and Joe Joyce to get his chance. He won via disqualification in the second round of his quarter-final against Mourad Aliev, with the referee intervening after Aliev repeatedly used his head, leaving the Briton with two cuts to the eyes.
What followed was bizarre when the Frenchman sat on the ring cloth in protest and refused to leave for half an hour.
Clarke, who tried to cool Aliev down during the saga, said, “I told him to calm down. I’ve been in those situations myself. Often you think with your heart and your emotions go in all directions. I’m not sure what he wants to do in the future, but I didn’t want him to damage his reputation or be rude to the judges and officials.
“I know it’s hard and he’s angry, but the best thing to do is calm down and go back to the locker rooms and take your anger elsewhere.”
Whittaker advanced to the light-heavyweight final after a very impressive win over Imam Khataev. He lost the opening round but fought a classy battle to take a split decision against the Russian.
He said: ‘Every Christmas my coach bought me a picture of Muhammad Ali standing on the podium at the Olympics with a gold medal. He said, “This is going to be you”.
“I hadn’t even won the senior national title yet, but he said to me, ‘Trust me, you’ll be there’. Just before I came to the arena, he sent me the photo again. I now have the chance to do it, it’s every amateur boxer’s dream.” McCormack was walked over to the welterweight final on Wednesday after Ireland’s Aidan Walsh injured an ankle celebrating his quarter-final victory.