– The BBBofC Ordered Fabio Wardley To Defend His British Title Against Frazer Clarke
– BOXXER Withdrew Clarke From His British Title Purse Bids At The Eleventh Hour
– Eddie Hearn Blames Ben Shalom/BOXXER For Denying Fans Of Wardley vs Clarke And The Opportunity For Clarke To Fight For The Lonsdale Belt
Last month, the BBBofC officially ordered Fabio Wardley (16-0, 15 KOs) to defend his British Heavyweight championship against his mandatory challenger, Frazer Clarke (6-0, 5 KOs).
The decision to order Wardley to face Clarke, who has had just six professional fights against mostly insignificant opposition, was met with a great deal of criticism – like a lot of their other moves in recent months.
Everybody from boxing fans to Wardley’s promoter Eddie Hearn and even Clarke’s own promoter in Ben Shalom questioned the decision to make the 2020 Olympic Bronze medalist the mandatory challenger over the reigning English champion Solomon Dacres and the WBO European titleist David Adeleye.
However, Robert Smith clarified to numerous outlets that Clarke’s management, 258, petitioned the BBBofC to install the man from Burton as mandatory – a request that Shalom was clearly unaware of.
Back-and-forth began between the pair and fans were in store for a terrific build-up preceding an all-action Heavyweight fight. Under a week after the fight was ordered, BOXXER announced that Clarke would fight on June 10 in Wembley – an announcement that would surprise fans and anger Hearn.
Hearn publicly pressured Clarke into withdrawing from his June 10 bout and the boxer even announced it on his social media, but promoter Shalom insisted he would still fight on that date. The BOXXER promoter then made dubious comments which led fans to believe he wouldn’t allow Clarke to go through with the fight.
Shalom insisted that Wardley was a promotional free agent, not contracted to Matchroom and that they were in talks with Wardley’s team to stage the fight on a BOXXER/Sky show and would continue in their attempt to make a deal before purse bids on May 10.
One day before the purse bids, Sky Sports attempted to push the narrative that Wardley was ducking the Clarke fight after the British champion had rejected an offer for the bout on Sky. Shalom “We believe Fabio is a free agent, so it’s easy for him to accept the fight if he genuinely wants the fight.”
Wardley quickly denied that was the case and revealed BOXXER’s offer was less than he made for his last fight, nowhere near the value of the fight.
Hearn today confirmed that he had learnt via the BBBofC that BOXXER had withdrawn Clarke from the bids leading to unprecedented levels of negativity from the fans towards BOXXER with said company and its founder trending virtually all day on Twitter as a result of criticism.
Hearn’s Reaction To Cancellation Of The Wardley vs Clarke Purse Bids
“It’s just the biggest shambles I’ve ever seen”, Hearn told iFL TV, “I feel for Frazer Clarke because he looks like a complete idiot. Frazer Clarke’s credibility is on the floor. I feel like he’s been hung out to dry, Frazer wants the fight.”
The British promoter dug out Shalom for previous comments where he indicated his intention to avoid promoter/network rivalry and work in the interests of his fighters, “People who say they want to do things for the good of the sport and not worry about the politics and all this sort of stuff”
“I’m told Frazers devastated, he was in tears in the office being told that he couldn’t take the fight.” Hearn believes that Clarke was told by BOXXER/Shalom that he couldn’t go through with the bids even though he wanted to do so.
“You’re too scared to lose a purse bid to Matchroom and DAZN. You robbed the fans and you robbed the fighters of it.” The Matchroom chief believes that a disservice was done not only to Clarke but also to the fans by them losing out on a terrific matchup due to network/promoter politics.
Some of the blame must go to Clarke though, Hearn insists. “As the fighter you got to say, you got to say no way. Ultimately, the fighter pulls himself out of the Purse bid, not the promoter.”
“You can’t deny a fighter an opportunity like that…All we hear is ‘we want to provide fighters with opportunities, we want to work with other promoters’.”
“It’s embarrassing. You saw his tweet yesterday ‘Deflated’.”