Grassroots to Glory - Cheavon Clarke
Clarke even believes the time he spent out of the ring has made him sharper, hungrier, and saved the toll on his body that ends many a career too soon. Perhaps life does begin at 30 after all?
"I loved those couple of years on the road, working hard, making honest money and not being a slave to my trade. It was fun, I always think that whatever happens, if things don't go right, I'll be right back in that lorry and be really happy. I know boxing has the reputation for being all about the money - the big pro fights and making millions.I think I've got perspective about money - it's about being happy in what you do, which is why I loved my lorry job. Offer me a million pounds now or an Olympic gold and I'd be nope - give me that medal!
I know I can beat anybody in the world - now I've just got to do it. I know it would change my life but I also want it to change the life of a whole new generation of boxers too. If I can come from this tiny place in Jamaica that no-one knows, live all these experiences and become Olympic champion - it's a perfect story."
The entrepreneurial spirit has always run strong in Clarke, who shared many tales of his 'side hustles' - from selling chocolate to school friends to starting his own clothing business, Level Up Nation, taking orders directly and managing stock and distribution in spare time between training.Born and raised in rural Jamaica, Clarke moved to England in the winter of 2002, becoming the first Black child in his school and discovering he could fight after an altercation with a racist bully.But football was the youngster’s only sporting passion until his first fateful trip to a boxing gym—and a chance encounter with Weeks.“He told me, ‘You can be a champion’,” he adds. When Clarke steps into the ring in the days ahead, his long-haul story can come full circle.