Published: 10:08, 07 August 2014
Boxing in front of thousands, hanging out with Usain Bolt and giving the future king of England the old one-two, Chev Clarke had a Commonwealth Games experience to remember but now he is ready to take the world by storm.
Chev, 23, from Northfleet, had just got back from Glasgow, where he represented Jamaica in the light heavy division, when the Messenger caught up with him at Gravesham Amateur Boxing Club in Cygnet Leisure Centre.
Decked out in his team Jamaica sports wear with matching baseball cap, he was just about to get into another training session.
Seamless preparation is imperative for a boxer and fighters do not take kindly when their training is interrupted. Even when it is by royalty.
Prince Charles visited team Jamaica’s training camp at the games, which meant that the athletes had to halt their session – it did not go down well.
The young boxer said:“I wasn’t happy about it because you can’t interrupt someone’s training and we had to start again.
When he came down he was walking over and he came to me and I went ‘pow-pow’ [punched the air] and gave him two fists and two feints.
“I said: ‘I’m a bad man and what I give, you don’t want to have’ and then we had a chat about boxing and how I came through with Gravesham Boxing Club and Fight 4 Change.”
Fight 4 Change is a charity that uses boxing to help young people make positive changes to their lives.
Unfortunately Chev lost his only bout to Northern Ireland’s Sean McGlinchy, who went on to win a bronze medal, but he is now looking to the future.
He said: “That’s yesterday’s papers, that’s old news, but obviously we’re watching the fight and there’s things we can take out from it.”
The former North West Kent College student, was born in Stonehenge, Jamaica, but moved over to England when he was 11.
He explained he was nervous about the Games, but certainly not about getting in the ring.
He said:“When I got there at first, I didn’t know what to expect. I brought a suitcase full of clothes, but they told me ‘You can’t wear your own clothes, we’ve got sponsored clothing’. I had to send all of my clothes back.
“I was a little bit nervous but not because of the competition – I was nervous about what to expect.
“It was the third biggest event in the world. You have the World Cup, the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games.”
Chev has been boxing since 2009 but nothing could have prepared him for what he was going to see when he arrived at the boxing arena in Glasgow,
He said: “I saw inside the boxing arena and I think there was about 4,000 in there. The ring was just like heaven.
“I just thought, I can do this every day, I can do this all the time.
“I don’t worry about the crowd or my opponent, that’s not a problem. I train so hard and if you put the work in there is no reason to worry. The opponent has two arms and two legs, so it just comes down to how you prepare.”
Jamaica took home 22 medals and among those was another gold for sprinting superstar Usain Bolt.
Bolt caused controversy with derogatory comments about the event, but Chev explained that the Bolt he met was down to earth.
He said: “We lived in the same block. He’s just a normal guy, he’s not all ego.
“It was quite amazing because you see these people on TV – and it wasn’t just Usain it was Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Warren Weir – some of the fastest people in the world and you’re living in the same place as them, sharing the same air as them, eating the same food and sharing the same training rooms.
“It was not about ego, certainly not in the Jamaica camp. It was just ‘wow’ that’s all I can say.”
Chev explained he was taken back by the support and encouragement he got from people in the area and now just wants to show his gratitude.
He said: “I’d like to say a big thank you to the town because I was so surprised [with the support]. When they saw my name in the papers my Facebook and Twitter exploded so I’d just like to say a big thank you to all the people that supported me religiously.
“I’d also like to thank my coaches Len Trusty, Jason Weeks and Rebecca Donnelly from Fight 4 Change and all the other people that helped out and made this possible.”
As for competing at the Olympics in Rio in 2016 or turning professional, he said: “I’m going to let that be a surprise. “There’s a lot more to come.”
Chev is currently seeking sponsorship, you can contact him at Gravesham Amateur Boxing Gym via Cygnet Leisure Centre on 01474 337485