By James Wilkinson @Wilkinsing
“Well actually, I remember seeing Anthony Joshua walk out and win Gold at London 2012.”
I’m that dickhead that you’ve talked to in the pub. In all honesty, I hadn’t heard of him before that day but when I saw the absolute Adonis that was 22 year old AJ dominate his Olympic final and top off an amazing year for Team GB, I knew he had the raw potential to go all the way – me and the other few million people watching.
I went on to watch all of his fights, right from his debut – me and another few million people. My point is, I wasn’t the only person to sit up and take notice when the, now, unified Heavyweight Champion of the World announced himself on the scene. But who is the next Anthony Joshua? In truth, it’s hard to imagine that anyone could have the impact that he has had on the sport but here’s a few incredibly talented young amateurs to keep an eye on in the years to come. So that you too, can be “that dickhead in the pub”.
3. Peter McGrail
Everyone knows that Scousers come tough but not all of them come as skilled as Peter McGrail. The 22 year old fights out of Everton Red Triangle Amateur Boxing Club and since a very young age has been making waves on the national and world scenes, picking up medals at the junior and senior English and British Championships. He had an even more impressive last couple of years winning European Gold and World Championship Bronze in 2017 followed by another Gold at the Commonwealth Games in Australia. With his neck starting to buckle under the weight of all the precious metal, I’m sure he’ll be training his waist to take the strain of some Pro belts in the years to come.
2. Caroline Dubois
If the name rings a bell, you’re probably thinking of her personality-challenged older brother, Daniel. The enormous punching power of the Repton trained Heavyweight has earned him a name very early in his career and his younger sister looks set to follow in his footsteps. At only 17, she really is one for the future but what a future she could have. Untouchable domestically, she has four National junior amateur titles along with three European golds and has recently gone on to win the junior World Championships at Lightweight. Tokyo 2020 is well in her sights and with the superhuman genes that clearly run in the family, a lengthy and prosperous career awaits.
1. Frazer Clarke
You’ll have seen this name all over the mainstream media back in April as one of the great success stories of Team England’s Commonwealth Games in Australia. Clarke won Gold in the Super-Heavyweight division at 26 years of age. Known for being one of AJ’s chief sparring partners for many years, he lost out to the unified Heavyweight Champion of the World when it came to selection for the 2012 Olympics (did I mention that I saw him win the gold?). In 2016, Clarke was the favourite to be selected for the Rio Games but was once again pipped to the position by the Silver medalist, Joe Joyce. He remained undeterred, maintained his amateur status and will undoubtedly be first in line for selection in Tokyo in 2020. I’m sure watching AJ toying with $50 million offers won’t put Frazer Clarke off turning pro for a piece of that pie shortly after.
So sit back, watch and wait for the World titles to come flooding in for these fighters over the next few years so that you can complete your transition to “dickhead in the pub”.