Lennox Clarke is adamant that he will be Willy Hutchinson’s worst nightmare when the pair clash on Saturday for the British and Commonwealth super-middleweight titles, as part of Frank Warren’s doubleheader at the Copper Box Arena in London.
The pair will headline the second night of action coming from London’s Olympic Park, live on BT Sport, and Clarke (19-1-1, 7 KOs) remains unfazed by the hype surrounding the young Scot, who had a well publicised, successful amateur career.
For Clarke, it is his first outing since November 2019 when he lost a close decision to Lerrone Richards for the same titles and the Birmingham man is confidently declaring that he will be too much for Hutchinson to deal with come Saturday.
He explained to Boxing Social: “All the pressure is on him. There is a lot of smoke being blown around him, but he hasn’t done anything as a pro. All the hype comes what he did as an amateur and he has to live up to all that. I know that I will be too big an ask for him to deal with.
“I’m no gatekeeper. They’re saying he’s going to be this star but he hasn’t even proven that he’s British level yet. I’m going to turn up on the night and be his worst nightmare. This will be the beginning of the end, as we’re going to see how he copes when he has an animal who wants to punch holes in him standing in front of him.”
The 29-year-old Clarke even went on to place the blame on Hutchinson’s team for agreeing to the fight in the first place, as he believes that it is too early for the Scot. Hutchinson has a record of 13-0, stopping nine of his opponents, however he has yet to come up against any fighters of note domestically.
That will all change against Clarke, who has built a respected career on the small hall scene and worked his way up without any real amateur experience behind him. Clarke believes that Hutchinson and his team have already written him off and are looking past him, which he insists is a big mistake on their part.
“To be honest, I think this is bad management from Dominic Ingle and Frank Warren. It’s too early for him. The fight was mentioned after the last binman he fought and they came back saying he’s not ready yet, but now all of a sudden he is – which is a bit of a miraculous turnaround.
“We’ll soon find out if he is and if I’m proven wrong, I’ll give him all the credit that he deserves. I’m glad this fight is happening. I’m going to derail the hype train and expose him. I’m not hiding and I’m more than happy to tell anyone exactly what I plan on doing.
“They’re already writing me off and looking past me. Well, more fool them. I’m fit, no injuries to worry about and I’m fully able to perform. I promise Willy Hutchinson that he will not live with me on the night. What they’ve seen in my last fight, well I was the half the man I am now.”
Clarke has the added benefit of being able to draw on his own experience of appearing in a pro fight at this level. In his last bout, he came out on the wrong end of a split decision in his hometown of Birmingham against Richards.
He revealed that he was carrying a shoulder injury into that fight and that, over the past year during the pandemic, he has been able to let it heal properly. Now fully fit and focused, Clarke will be the first major test of Hutchinson’s pro career, a role that he is relishing.
“After my last fight, I’m grateful that I’m back in this position again. This is a massive chance for me and I’m hungry to succeed. Having lost to Lerrone on a split decision, I proved a lot to myself. There was a lot happening around that time, but I still nearly won it with one arm.
“I left it too late to get the ball rolling and try to draw him into a fight. It was a lesson and one that I have definitely learned from, as I will be leaving nothing in the ring again and not walk away with any questions unanswered.
“It’s been frustrating to wait as long as I have. Obviously, this was meant to happen at the end of last year, so I’ve been biding my time. The lockdowns over the past year has given me chance to rehab my shoulder and work with a physio to get back into top shape. So I’m ready to go. Let’s see whether Willy Hutchinson can handle the pressure on Saturday.”
Main image: Lennox Clarke (left) in his previous British title fight with Lerrone Richards in 2019. Photo: Alamy/Reuters.