The Opening Round: Fabio Wardley v Frazer Clarke

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Ipswich’s Fabio Wardley will defend his British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles against countryman Frazer Clarke in a blockbuster ‘Bad Blood’ showdown at London’s O2 Arena on Easter Sunday.

A domestic dust-up long in the making, the unbeaten Wardley and Clarke appear primed to face the biggest test of their respective professional careers in front of a bumper crowd in the capital.

Wardley acquired the British heavyweight strap after knocking out Nathan Gorman in the third round of their Wembley Arena bout back in November 2022, and has since defended the belt on two occasions, including a clinical TKO victory over fellow compatriot David Adeleye in the Saudi Kingdom in October.

Rising through the ranks of white-collar boxing, 29-year-old Wardley continues to improve as a professional and boasts an intimidating record of 16 knockouts from his 17 bouts to date.

In Clarke, Wardley will face a boxer with an admirable amateur record with ‘Big Fraze’ having claimed gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia before picking up a bronze medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The 32-year-old is yet to be seriously tested as a professional, however, disposing of all of his eight challengers with relative ease, stopping six of those well inside the scheduled distance.  

Their contrasting boxing backgrounds is just one factor which makes this such an enthralling match-up, with both men adamant they are the superior fighter in the entertaining lead-up to this headline bout.

The reigning champion Wardley enters the fight as the 4/9 favourite, with Clarke a dangerous underdog at a price of 7/4.

Whichever way this contest goes, there’s bound to be fireworks.

bet365’s boxing expert Rob Tebbutt has had his say on this mouth-watering British heavyweight title fight…

“This is a terrific fight and one that’s been talked about for a long time now. The rivalry has been building, slowly but surely, and finally Fabio Wardley and Frazer Clarke will settle their differences on Easter Sunday,” he told bet365’s Sports & Betting News site.

“In Wardley we have someone who is more experienced as a professional and he’s 17-0 with 16 knockouts, whereas Clarke is only 8-0. The professional experience does lie with Wardley but you cannot discount the sizeable amateur pedigree of Clarke.

“So where does the money go this weekend? I do feel this fight will end inside the distance, I cannot see it going to the final bell.

“It’s going to be down to whether Wardley’s explosive punching power early in the fight is enough to stop Clarke from settling into that rhythm behind the jab. You have to remember that Clarke is the more schooled boxer, the more fundamentally sound of the two but the punching power does lie with Wardley.

“This is a fight with a lot of intangibles; there will be a lot of questions asked and answered. It is a 50/50 fight, and I’ve been seesawing from one side to the other since the bout was announced.

“But for me, Clarke being 7/4 to win the fight is the value play and it’s my pick for this weekend’s contest.”

Wardley v Clarke is the headline fight of what is a stacked BOXXER card which also includes an intriguing grudge match in the welterweight division between Albanian Florian Marku (8/11) and Britain’s Chris Kongo (11/10).

Another fight which has been long anticipated, Tebbutt is backing London-born Kongo to pull off an upset in an entertaining contest.

“I do like the slight underdog in this bout and I do fancy Kongo to just be a little too slick and well-schooled for Marku, keeping him on the end of the jab for as long as he possibly can.

“I like the well-schooled, fundamental boxing skills of Kongo to emerge victorious by Decision, which you can get at 9/4 on Sunday.”

Easter Sunday’s BOXXER offering will also showcase a special bet365 wildcard fight as Tottenham’s Viddal Riley defends his English title against former British champion Mikael Lawal.

Already a bona-fide social media star, the unbeaten Riley’s credentials in professional boxing will come firmly under the microscope when he takes on a very capable opponent in the form of fellow Londoner Lawal.

“Riley has a massive profile and is a big talent as a well-schooled amateur, but this very much does represent his first tough test as a professional fighter,” said bet365’s boxing expert Tebbutt.

“Lawal did pick up the British title against David Jamieson, but he relinquished it shortly thereafter against Isaac Chamberlain, pretty much losing every round in the process.

“I do like the youth, freshness and skillset of Riley over Lawal, but I don’t see a stoppage coming in this fight, with my preference for Riley to win this bout by Decision, which is priced up at 6/5.”

bet365 are also offering Bet Boosts across all of Sunday night’s BOXXER action, meaning you can take advantage of even BIGGER prices on the headline bout and the full undercard, including BOOSTED Bet Builders on the aforementioned fights.

The bet365 Sports & Betting News site houses plenty of pre-fight content, including a comprehensive All You Need To Know guide for the main event, as well as a detailed Tale of the Tape article which houses all of the vital statistics of both Wardley and Clarke.

View the latest Bet Boosts and odds for the full BOXXER card and all other upcoming boxing at bet365

Bet Boosts and odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time. 

By James Wilson

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