Angel Fernandez is attempting to transform Frazer Clarke from the “brawler” he inherited into the rounded professional heavyweight he believes can compete at world level.
The 31 year old recently recorded his sixth professional victory, when he dismissed the effects of a cut to stop Bogdan Dinu in the second round.
Fernandez, heavily influenced by the Cubans Jorge Rubio and Ismael Salas, built his reputation on giving Anthony Joshua the cultured edge that was so crucial to him defeating Andy Ruiz Jnr in their rematch, but unlike the mature Joshua, Clarke is a relatively inexperienced fighter with greater potential to be reshaped.
The Spanish trainer also still wants to see his heavyweight taken eight rounds before he fights at a higher level, but revealing his plans for the former Olympian, he told ProBox TV: “I’m focusing a lot on positioning, defence, [to] use his range – he needs to use his range. If he has to go and blow, go and blow, but understand when and where. That’s what I’m trying to do with him.
“He was a brawler in the amateurs. That’s not being taken away from him, but I’ve got to think about the longevity in his career. If he starts to have these sorts of fights, with 10oz gloves, and starts getting cuts early on, when we get to European level, when we get to world level… I don’t want to get to that point.
“I’d like to see a few more things from him first before he gets fully tested. I’d like to see him go through these tests before he jumps into a big test.”
In the promising Richard Riakporhe, Fernandez has a further fighter who may yet end up at heavyweight, and asked why it is different to train a heavyweight, he responded: “These guys are nuts. The one thing I would say with heavyweights – they are crazy. You get to see switches just – like that.
“You’ve got to understand with one punch they end the fight. Big guys. Egos. So many different things. But I try not to treat [Clarke] differently. You have to find your ways to, maybe, humble these guys somehow.”